There are a lot of Time Management tools out there. A couple of the more famous are the Urgent and Important method popularized by Steven Covey. There is also the ABCDE method that I have taught. I want to give you another, Your Participation.
I am working with a client that is doing a lot of work on Time Management for himself. The challenge he had was that all the A items overfilled his schedule. We went through the list and he explained to me all the things that must get done each time period. We also talked about all the things that he is not doing that he should be doing. I set up a goal beyond what he needed to hit to go back over the list. I figured that if I pressed harder than I needed to then something good would happen.
Then, I asked a rather salient question…”How many of these activities require you to do them?” That is different than do they need to be done, but it is about who has the skill to do them. I started with administrative and rote tasks and wanted to make a list of them. That list alone made a good chunk of the overflow of work. We talked about who these tasks could be delegated to or outsourced to and made a plan around that.
After that, we made an attack by trying to break the bigger chunks into parts that absolutely require his time but parts can be done by others. This provided the rest of the time required. This meant that he was going to have to change how the tasks were done so that others could participate more directly. One other thing that was key was a single technological thought that allowed him to make a specific task easier to manage. That leads to my next challenge for him (and others).
One of the big problems is how to manage interruptions and the Urgent/Important matrix is good with that. But just being able to block out some time in significant chunks is very handy separately. The best way to do that is pro-active communications. By informing people before they call you about a problem you get to communicate on your terms. Even better, you can set expectations on updates and thus clear your time to get the work done that they want. By improving communications and setting the timeframe for an update, you can take additional control of your calendar.
So, there are several ways beyond the traditional metrics to be able to help move things to help make your Time more under your control. The best part of this is that control is a major stress reducer. So, you can spend less time worrying about your time and more time taking care of what you need to do.
Have a great day!
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