"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 C. Maxwell
Everyone wants to be able to better manage their time, especially business leaders. It seems like we never have enough time to get everything accomplished that we need, and want, to get done. In addition to the daily business tasks, which include keeping the sales funnel full, making payroll, customer care, providing quality products and service, etc., we also have personal goals, family issues, and more. Our lists are long and our time is short.
I recently experimented with an approach to time management that has been around awhile, but not utilized as much as it should be, in my opinion. It is the simple task of compartmentalization, which defined by psychologists is how our minds deal with conflicting internal standpoints simultaneously. Or put another way, how we cope with having so much on our plate at one time.
"You've got to know what you want. This is central to acting on your intentions. When you know what you want, you realize that all there is left then is time management. You'll manage your time to achieve your goals because you clearly know what you're trying to achieve in your life."
--- Patch Adams
The very first act, before we begin to even think of implementing steps to improve our time management is to make sure that we are pursuing what we should be pursuing. Zig Ziglar says that one of the worst things we can do is struggle to climb the ladder of success only to realize too late that the ladder is leaning on the wrong building.
Make a list of all the things you are going after-in your personal, professional, social and family life, then take a good hard look at it to ensure those are the things you want to go after. This exercise may open your eyes to some things that can be eliminated or things that you want to add.
"I like to do weird things in the shower, like drink my coffee, brush my teeth and drink a smoothie. It's good time management."
--- Michelle Williams
Compartmentalization is a five-step approach to handling business challenges and the first step is to compartmentalize it or isolate the issue from all the other challenges you are dealing with.
The second step is to turn off everything else that needs to be done and give laser-like focus to this one thing, but only for a short period of time.
"Boundary setting is really a huge part of time management."
--- Jim Loehr
Step three in the compartmentalization process is to move forward in incremental steps. Remember that you are extremely focused at this point and you are applying all your energies to this particular challenge. You should take a methodical approach toward completion, a resolution, or whatever this issue requires.
Then, once you see progress, go to step four which is to close the compartment and go to the next one. Don't look back. That compartment made progress and is at a point where you can come back later.
"Time is money. Wasted time means wasted money means trouble."
--- Shirley Temple
In step five, you say "no" to things that don't deserve a compartment. For example, anything that does not promote, improve, or in any way positively affect your previously made list of priorities in your personal or business life.
Try compartmentalization for 30 days and see if it works for you. Be prepared though. Many people find it difficult to open a compartment, see only slight progress, then close it again, but that's the way it works. Try compartments for everything... being a parent, taking care of ill parents, preparing for a sales call, giving an installation estimate, or coaching a son's soccer game. The process forces you to give completely 100% to the task at hand.