My best friend has recommended the book Eat This, Not That! to me several times. Have I read it? No. But, I like the concept: there are certain foods you should avoid and replace with healthier options. Tell that to my son. And my husband. And me. Anyway…
So, in lieu of reading a great book on improving my diet, I choose to write about productivity. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.
Why is time management so important?
You know this, but I have to restate it from time to time: without good time management skills, you will just give more and more hours to your job. Those hours are deducted from your personal life. Excess stress and work/life imbalance are often the result.
My personal epiphany about the need for time management came at the age of 29. I was on an airplane and looked at my Franklin Planner. The brutal realization was that my family was hardly visible in how I was allocating my time.
Have you had your time management wake-up call yet? Read on, friend.
- Do the right things in the first place. Evaluate your activities. Are they consistent with your personal values, life aspirations, and career goals? Busywork is one of the biggest time drains there is.
- Allocate time for planning. In our action-oriented culture, too little time is spent thinking through the steps to get from point A to point B and the possible roadblocks that can occur. Being proactive doesn’t happen by accident.
- Allocate time for self-development. Do you have a stack of articles that you haven’t read? Is there a webinar that you want to take? Hone your skills so that you will be the best you can be.
- Spend 6+ hours a day, every day, in meetings. Change your default meeting length. Do you give everybody an hour of your time whenever they request a meeting? Change that to 30 minutes or less. Decline to attend meetings where you are not needed.
- Drive all over town. Evaluate the feasibility of working from home. Participate in meetings (even with people in the same city as you) via videoconference. Can this be done at least some of the time? Set up carpools for kid shuttling.
- Allow your time to be sucked away by email. If your email inbox is your to-do list, then it is inevitable that you will spend excess time there. Pre-determine how many times per day you will process email. Put those appointments on your calendar. Set a timer. Get in and get out. Use a to-do list to manage your action items.
Check out my eBook, Corral Your To-Dos: and don’t rely on your brain – at all
Dr. Melissa Gratias (pronounced "Gracious") is a work psychologist who helps overwhelmed and underappreciated businesspeople be more focused and effective. Since 2007, thousands of people have graduated with honors from her onsite sessions, distance coaching, productivity seminars, and corporate consulting projects. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Melissa is available for nationwide consulting and speaking engagements. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 912-417-2505. Sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter or visit her website, melissagratias.com.