Last month in our business we spent some time setting goals and mapping out how we could go about achieving them. Action plans aside, it becomes always so clear in these situations, that with a little time planning, we’d all achieve so much more.
When you think about it, we all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet how we use them, and what we achieve during them, differs enormously from person to person. We gave some thought to a few strategies that focus us on becoming aware of how we use our time, and how we want to use our time. Here are some for starters:
- First off, give some real thought to how you spend your time each day. Really. There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you’re in, your day will be composed of those three items. How much of it is spent on irrelevant talk, on work, on relaxation or sport, on friends and family, on social media or commuting? Is the balance right for you? If not, start by jotting down a better time frame, and plan to spend at least 50 percent of your work time, engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
- Create a To Do list. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you’ve completed your time plan – make this your own uninterrupted time.
- Realise that interruptions are generally counter-productive, so put up a “do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done and schedule time for interruptions. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing, or e-mails just because they show up unless it’s absolutely crucial. Instead, schedule a time to return mails and calls.
- Take a few minutes before every call, task and meeting to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what goals you want to achieve before you start. It will also slow time down. Take a few minutes after each call or activity too, to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, why not? How will you put what was missing into your next call or activity?
- Allocate a reasonable amount of time for a certain task or meeting. Tell yourself that you can achieve your goal in that time – watch the time – and stick to it.