"Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have."
--- John Maxwell
I've actually come to despise the comment some people make regarding time management. They say, "Well, we all have 168 hours in a week, decide how to use them." The statement is true, but the realism of the statement just hits too close to home. I don't want to be limited in my time, but of course we all are. We all have to choose how we use that time and when to use it. Some of it is for business, some for pleasure and family, and some for rest.
Time management is really like John Maxwell states, priority management. That means that we should place the most important things at the top of our to-do list and focus completely on that task until it has been completed. This advice is easy to dispense, but in reality we all have similar priorities that must all be completed at the same time. Or worse, when we are attempting to complete the priority task, other priorities arise that take our focus away from the original prioritized task.
"This is the key to time management - to see the value of every moment."
--- Menachem Mendel Schneerson
To save you the trouble of reading all of the time management books out there, (and there are some really good ones too), I'm going to give you the top three keys to getting more done through proper priority management.
The first, if you're not already doing it, is to right down on paper a list of the tasks that must be accomplished. Many experts agree that you do this the night before so that your mind is already focusing, even while you're sleeping, on getting all of your tasks accomplished the next day. There is something magical about writing it down too as opposed to typing your list using your computer. The exercise of sending your list from your mind to your hand to the paper cements the obligation of getting things done.
"I think time management as a label encourages people to view each 24-hour period as a slot in which they should pack as much as possible."
--- Tim Ferriss
The second key is to tackle the hardest task or the task that you dread doing first. Once you've accomplished that task, the rest of the day's tasks becoming easier to face. In his book, Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy says that if you get up in the morning and eat the ugliest, biggest frog there is, all other tasks become a breeze.
"Boundary setting is really a huge part of time management."
--- Jim Loehr
Finally, to avoid having to put out spot fires during your day that always occur and that always interfere with your to-do list, turn off all digital devices and let your team know that you are not to be disturbed for the next two, three, five hours, or whatever amount of time you need. Unless the building you are in catches fire, all other "emergencies" can be handled by others or will have to wait. You will not have to file for bankruptcy because an irate customer insists on seeing you, or the office toilet backed up, or an employee went home sick, or, or , or....It really can wait.
"I am definitely going to take a course on time management... just as soon as I can work it into my schedule."
--- Louis E. Boone
Enjoy your 168 hours this week!