You cannot manage time itself, but you can manage yourself and how you choose to use your time. These days we are under more time pressure than ever, and those little gadgets we use to make our lives easier may actually make our lives harder. They certainly make us live life faster!
To a very large degree, your success will depend on whether or not you master the art of effective time organization. However, time management is a skill few people master and is one that most people need. In many cases time management is more about what you decide “not to do” rather than “what you do”.
Time is the great equalizer. Everyone gets the same amount of time: 24 hours in each day. No matter how rich you are, you cannot buy more time. No matter how many people you know, they cannot give you more time. So the most important question you can ask daily is, “How can I and everyone on the team use time more wisely?”
One of the essential keys to maximizing success as an individual or an organization is to effectively determine where your time should go now and into the future. Where you used time in the past only serves as a guide and learning mechanism for your decisions as to where time should go. One person in your group not focusing on congruent goals can cause everyone’s time to be misused. Many people not using their time wisely can be a huge barrier to your potential.
Change Your Attitudes, one of my earlier articles, focuses on how belief systems lead to actions that cause results. So if you are finding that you are not getting to the most important activities, deadlines are slipping, and too much time is being spent on activities that are not going to yield the highest value to your business or career, the first place you need to look is your thoughts and beliefs.
A common issue I hear from CEOs is that they are spending little or no time on their strategic priorities. Instead, they spend their days putting out fires, dealing with their employee issues, and other daily issues. They are usually insistent that this is just how their business is. However, at closer examination what we typically learn is that they are the types of people that like to put out fires, enjoy the immediate gratification of handling the daily emergencies, like to be the ones with all the answers as it gives a feeling of pleasure, have trouble tell others “No” (especially customers), and usually are very slow to fire poor performers. All of this has to do with habits of thought which cause their time management issues.
Most people do not have a good sense of where their time goes. At least once every six months, executives should track their time to see where it goes. If you want to get the most out of this exercise, contact us about the form we provide our clients to use and the things we have them look for. Once you have a solid understanding of how you spend your time you then have two choices: try to increase the amount of time you control, or make the hours you use more productive. This is done by delegating activities to others, eliminating waste, and reallocating time to make it more productive.
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