Conway Daily Sun
By Michael Kline
One of the more popular seminars I’ve been teaching lately is Time Management. The title alone begs some argument as to whether there is any such thing as time management. Lest we get lost in semantics, let’s agree what
we really mean is self-management in reference to how we use our time. It is a pretty level playing field, since we all get the same amount of time each day.
All the money in the world can’t buy you an extra hour in the day. The smartest scientist cannot find extra minutes in their day. Yet, we still put things off until we “find the time”, and we still try to “make time” for new projects.
Real productivity increases do not come from managing our time better. Sure, most of us can find some value in the tips and tricks to making better use of our time. In fact, our seminar is full of useful ways to be more productive.
Based on feedback from my students, most everyone finds a trick or two in a seminar that makes it worthwhile. They are ready to start a new habit or two that could free up maybe an hour a day. I would argue that a shift in philosophy
could more than double productivity.
1. What to do. Busy people focus on doing more. Effective people focus on doing the right things. You need to know the goals, the real goals – what really matters at a deep and meaningful level. For the entrepreneur, if you don’t have a plan for your business, I guarantee you are not making the best use of your time doing the right things at work. If you don’t have a personal mission statement for your life, chances are you’re waiting to find time to do what is most important to you personally. Starter versions of these planning tools for business and life are easily available for free online or you can ask for help. Until you do these things, everything else is just filler.
2. How to Prioritize. I’m a big fan of Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix. Everything we do can be rated as either important or not important, and as either urgent or not urgent. With only four possible combinations, this tool is simple to use and helpful at identifying tasks that can be eliminated altogether and tasks that deserve more attention. The difficulty most people have is they put unimportant things in the important box. This is why step one above is so critical. If you would like a free chart that might help you prioritize tasks for yourself and your staff,
just send me an email and I’ll make it so.
3. When to Delegate. The most common answer to why we don’t delegate is “it’s easier to do it yourself”. Think of delegating as an investment. If you spend two hours teaching a task that only takes an hour, most people do it themselves. If the task is to be repeated every week, then a two hour investment is paid back in two weeks, leaving you another fifty hours of free time added to your year! That’s more than a week off! Another aspect of the delegating investment is money. If you can train a less expensive person to do the work, then delegate and spend your time bringing in the big fish. This is an investment in making other people more valuable while doing the same for yourself. You’ve heard me bang this drum before - most entrepreneurs would benefit from working in their business less and on their business more.
Time is the most precious commodity on earth, and no one has any more of it than you do. Invest it wisely.