Time Management doesn’t work because we can’t manage time. Time moves forward on its own with no help from us, completely ignoring our efforts to slow it down. There are always 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year. We can’t change that. But we can change the way we manage our work. So we call it Work Management.
Do you know this business owner? He jumps out of bed, rushes to the office and starts working on the first thing in front of him. Before finishing he starts on the next thing. When that’s finished he starts on the next task, and so on and so on. At the end of the day, tired but satisfied he sits and relaxes with a cool beer and congratulates himself on all the things he achieved that day. Can’t remember what he did but he sure did a lot. A couple of problems here:
- The chances are high that he is working on the urgent and not the important things.
- He has probably surrounded himself with people who work the same way and so there is always a sense of crisis and overload. Not a great way to build a strong and sustainable business!
There is no one-size fits all work management technique. One approach for one person just doesn’t work for another. So here are three techniques that our clients have tried and have found to work.
One Hour A Day
Set aside one hour a day to work on those things that will move your business forward. Some examples:
- Work on the new product.
- Manage the sales pipeline.
- Write the job description for the new position.
- Sit and think!
Make it the first hour of every day so the daily interruptions haven’t yet started. Do NOT open your emails until the hour is over; turn off the phone. Stick to this and you will be working 5 hours a week on your business rather than in your business!
Power of No
Being a business owner means wearing multiple hats and being pulled in multiple directions. No wonder it is difficult to work on the important things. One way is to activate the Power of No. It doesn’t mean saying no to everything and every idea. It means saying no selectively. As Steve Jobs said: “Deciding on what NOT to do is as important as deciding what to do.”
Everyone thinks they can multitask. Everyone thinks multitasking is a productive way to get things done. The reality is different. Studies have shown that productivity drops by as much as 40% when multitasking. In his book 18 Minutes Peter Bregman suggests the following ways to resist multitasking:
- Turn off interruptions. Phone, computer, shut your office door etc.
- Create unrealistic deadlines. If the deadline is looming and challenging you won’t answer your phone.
- Remember you are not perfect. Occasionally allow yourself to multitask.
I will leave you with some advice. This advice is so valuable that I cannot put a price on it; so you get it for free. If you follow it you will be a more relaxed person, more productive person and your spouse will be happy with you. The advice is:
Accept the fact you will never get everything done that you need to get done. So manage your work not your time!