Are you struggling with time management, and to fit all of your work-related tasks into your working day?
Are you finding yourself regularly taking work home from the office, and even working evenings and weekends to try and catch up?
With changing technology and the pressure to compete and succeed (especially in leadership, management, and higher scale roles) finding more time to allow you to switch off from work can be an uphill struggle.
What we mean by time (and time management)
In this context, the great Peter F Drucker captures it all;
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things”
So, you really need to be interested in effectiveness, rather than being super-efficient!
There are so many books, articles and blogs written about effectiveness, and most focus on getting things done. However, they do not make you a step back and say:
“Why the heck am I doing this in the first place?”
Which is what you should be evaluating on a regular basis, and when completing any task!
Research by Franklin Covey (in The Five Choices) suggests that you spend 40% of your time on things that aren’t important to you or your organisation.
So, if you ask yourself “what did I get done?” at the end of the day, this is a sign you could have a problem with time management and your overall effectiveness.
8 Steps to find more time by being more effective
When it comes to time management, there are 8 steps to help you find more time by being more effective, as follows:
- Do what’s important, not urgent
- Don’t Procrastinate – if you have tough job to do, don’t put it off, get it done
- Concentrate –time block when you will do it. Turn off your phone, emails and clear your desk. Shut your door and tell everyone you’re busy.
- Say ‘NO’ and Purposeful Abandonment – See our previous blog for more on this.
- Rest – Take regular breaks throughout the day.
- Celebrate Achievement – Give your emotional brain a treat, you’ll teach it that achievement of tasks is good.
- Get rid of it! Delegate, Devolve, empower, outsource, automate – pass on anything you can that does not need your personal attention
- Find Your Productive Time Sweet Spot – we all work better at different times of the day and week. Think about when you are most effective and do your best work then.
We have also covered some of these steps in previous blog post, which can be found here:
Do What’s important, not urgent
Stephen Covey in ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ wrote that;
“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out”
He suggested that we divide our task into four quadrants based on the importance and urgency of the task.
Based on this model, we should act on the important tasks, and not react to those we or others deem as urgent, i.e. spend as much time as possible in quadrant two.
When creating our task lists we should use the strategy “Reflect-Review-Reset” to ensure that we grade the task appropriately based on its exact importance and urgency, rather than grading it based on the feelings and emotions of ourselves or others who influence us (e.g. client, suppliers, stakeholders, peers, etc).
- Is it really that urgent, or someone else just shouting?
- Have you clarified when it’s due or are you assuming its urgent?
- Is it important to us / you?
- If it is a long-term important task, like a new strategy, what will be the potential future urgent tasks that would arise from not doing it?
Yellow Brick Road’s Evolution of Covey’s Model
Evolving from Covey’s model, Yellow Brick Road have created our own take on the classic grid, and have refined the process even further, using a rating system for importance and urgency, then plotting these points on a new version of the grid above.
From the new version of the grid we should then be able to prioritise tasks, and “Time Block” items based on their position on the grid. Scheduling dedicated time in the diary will make you more accountable for completing that task during that time period.
Sharing our graph style grid at this stage is tempting, but as it is top secret, we cannot give too much away!
Are you interested in finding out more about the other steps to help with time management?
Would you like to learn more about our secret, and use our unique evolution of Covey’s model to become more effective at prioritising your tasks?
Please click here to find out more about our Lead Well Programme, which is designed to help you to allow yourself to behave like the best leader you can be.