Most people these days are pressed for time. Work seems to expand to exceed the amount of time available and we are frequently stressed by deadlines and deliverables. Sometimes, it seems that the pressure will never end. And yet, you probably know managers who never seem stressed, who are unruffled by the demands of the day and who can meet deadlines. These productive managers are good at time and task management. Being good at these things is the way to a more enjoyable, stress-free career.
It seems almost obvious why time management is important but I always wonder why, if it is obvious, more people don’t try to manage their time more effectively. For me, time management in itself is not the end game. The end game is personal productivity, getting more done with less effort. Managing time is an essential element of personal productivity. If you can manage your time better, you’ll live a less stressed, more balanced life.
There are all sorts of rules for having meetings and we’ll get to ways of making them more productive but first the issue is how to structure meetings into your working day. You know you won’t be able to eliminate all meetings and you’ll even have a hard time reducing them. They will fill up your calendar whether they are a priority for you or not. In many cases they are a priority for someone else and not for you but for the sake of playing nicely in the sandbox you’ll need to accept them.
The Nitty Gritty
Finding time to get projects done is one of the many issues that individuals have today. Projects are the things that are frequently important but not urgent. Also fitting into this category are such things as periodic reports. The problem people have getting to both of them is the same. So many meetings, emails, phone calls, and visits get in the way on a daily basis that there is no time to get to projects. Except of course, if you treat projects just like meetings and that is the key.
Good Enough Move On
While it is an overused concept, Keep It Simple Stupid really is a big time saver. Many people overcomplicate what they are trying to do instead of trying to make it as simple as possible. The first question you should be asking yourself when you set out to do anything is “What is the simplest way I can get this task done?” The problem is that keeping it simple actually takes much more planning time than one would expect. It goes hand in hand with the adage, “If I had had more time I would have written you a shorter letter.”
More On Time Management
If you like reading things instead of watching videos I’ve written up a short summary of what we were trying to get at in these videos. Check it out if you want a bit more depth on the subject.