No matter who you are, there are just twenty four hours in any given day. It’s impossible to get more time in your day, no matter how hard you try, you have this set budget of time and it’s the exact same amount for everyone. Yet, some people seem to get so much more done than others with the same amount of time. How? Why? For everyone it all starts with Prioritising, Planning, and Performing, commonly referred to as the three Ps.
The most important aspect of times management is learning to put things into order by priority, we can add categories to this to make it easier, like this:
- Really Urgent – Deadlines, problems, and crises often fall into the area of urgent. Taxes, bookkeeping, client work, production. These should go first on any to-do list.
- Immediate – Some things aren’t important at all but end up being treated as urgent, such as phone calls, reports, meetings and other interruptions. And sometimes you just like to do the things you like to do and spend time on these rather than on other tasks. If you can get a handle on these type of things and minimize or eliminate them, you’ll do a better job with the rest.
- Important – Next you have anything you need to do that is important such as networking, relationship building, or commenting on social media networks and blog posts. While important, none of these are urgent in the overall function of your business.
- Time wasters – Anything that causes you to waste time such as chitchat, Facebook, the Internet, political talk, office gossip, and so forth. All of these things are neither important nor urgent and should be moved to out of business time (do this in your lunch break).
Once you have prioritised your time you now understand what is urgent and important then it’s easier to complete a plan for any project or day. Every plan that you create should consist of the “five Ws” which are: What, Where, When, Why and Who. If you can answer those aspects of any project then you will be able to make a good plan of action.
Your plan should solve a problem, or fulfil a need. In order to create a plan you’ll need to define the problem or need in a very detailed format. You also need to know what results you’re hoping to achieve from the implementation of your plan. Once you know the problem and the results you want, it’s time to create some solutions to act on.
Spell out the plan in detail so that it’s easy to review, to ensure that nothing is missed. Ask for input from anyone who will be involved with its implementation or in evaluating the results.
The final and most important “P” of successful time management is to perform the things you planned. Without implementation and “doing,” all your prioritising and planning can become a crunch for another “P” word: Procrastination. During the planning process, start with the due date, and work your way backwards until today. Assign individual tasks to be completed by a certain deadline so that by the time the major deadline comes up, the project will have been implemented and performed without stress.