Take control of your day

Posted on Feb 4, 2012 | 0 comments

Priority

New Year’s Resolution -

Take Control Of Your Day!

It’s always challenging to find enough time to work on your business while keeping up with the demands of working in the business. Because long-term projects and planning activities get placed on hold while you put out fires and deal with unexpected interruptions, actual management of the business is often fragmented and very low in real productivity.
Here is a simple approach to solving the time management problem that’s guaranteed to work for you once you commit to it.

Step 1. Create a ‘To Do’ list

Make it as complete as possible by including both long-term and short-term tasks – everything that you have to do in a business day regardless of its importance or urgency. Include time for making and receiving telephone calls, impromptu conversations and meetings. Assign everything on the list to one of these four categories:

• Category 1: Urgent and Important – things that are critical to the business and have a deadline involved.
• Category 2: Important but not urgent
• Category 3: Urgent but not important – activities such as telephone calls or meetings not related to your Category 1 or 2 projects. They are urgent only because they need to be handled immediately.
• Category 4: Activities that are not important and not urgent
Now put this list aside for a day.

Checklist

 

Step 2. Track your real workday

Throughout the next day, without referring to your ‘to do’ list, make a note of everything you do and how much time you spend on it.
When the work day is complete go back to your ‘to do’ list and compare what you’ve actually done during your day with what you rated as really the most urgent and important tasks before you. If you’re like most people you’ll have spent far too much time on activities you’ve judged to be Category 3 and 4 types and consequently far too little time on those activities and projects that really matter.

Step 3. Restructure your time usage

Start by taking the prioritised ‘to do’ list and making an estimate of how much time every Category 1 and 2 item requires for completion. Relate these to any deadlines or completion dates that may apply and calculate just how much time needs to be spent on them each day. For example, you may have a major project that needs to be completed in ten days and will require approximately fifteen hours of your time to complete. That works out to needing 1.5 hours on average each day if you’re going to meet the deadline.

Step 4. Develop your schedule

Now go to your calendar or diary and block out the necessary time you need to complete everything that’s in Categories 1 and 2 – your real priorities!
Go back to your list and review everything that’s in Category 4. Either delete these items or delegate as many of them as possible. Things you’ve put into Category 3 can be handled on an ad hoc basis when time permits, but only when you are sure that everything in Categories 1 and 2 have received sufficient attention.

Step 5. Plan, Prioritise & Review

Take 5 to 10 minutes of time out to plan and prioritise at the start of each day. Close out each day reviewing your accomplishments and reflecting on your progress.
Once you begin working in this new way you’ll find that every day is more productive. You’ll be tempted to find excuses to make exceptions for one reason or another. Don’t! Taking control of your day won’t be easy at first, but stick with it and you’ll be hours ahead every week.
If you would like a referral to some great tools to help you with your time management, send me an email and I will point you in the right direction.

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