Is time management important in your role?
Are you too busy in your work and personal life?
Do you put out fires all day and never get to your to-do list?
Are you bombarded by emails, phone calls and interruptions that stop you focusing on what’s most important?
If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Business owners, executives, managers, supervisors and staff are all feeling the pressure, not only at work but in their personal lives. While everyone is busy, they are wondering why that doesn’t translate into achieving the things that are most important to them. Health, business growth, and relationships are suffering. The following time management tips will help you get back on track.
Time Management Tips
To help them get structure into their work and personal lives, we teach our clients and their staff a time management concept devised by the 34th President of the United States. It’s called The Eisenhower Matrix. Here’s our interpretation:
When you learn to recognise which of your tasks fit into each category, you can spend the appropriate amount of time on each.
Do Now: Urgent and important tasks
These tasks are the key parts of your day-to-day role. They are the main tasks listed in your job description, and what makes the business ‘tick’. This is the technical part of your job, such as a barista making coffee for customers, or a welder welding machinery parts. This is the zone of demand, as these tasks are responding to the needs of your customers and providing the product or service of your business.
Delegate: Urgent but not important tasks
Urgent but not important tasks are those you feel you have to do right away, but which are actually not important to the growth and mastery of your business. If you often find yourself overwhelmed as you switch from taking phone calls, responding to emails, handling interruptions from staff and meeting with unexpected visitors to your office, you’ll know what we mean! We call this the zone of delusion.
If you have people working for you, delegate some tasks to them. A team member could screen your calls and make appointments for you (rather than allowing drop-ins). You could also delegate tasks to a system or device – allow your calls to go to voicemail; turn off email notifications and check emails only twice a day; have interruption-free blocks of time in your diary; and use an automated CRM to facilitate some regular communication.
Delete: Not important and not urgent tasks
Not important and not urgent tasks are diversions to avoid at all costs. We call this the zone of distraction. Examples include talking at length to colleagues about non-work-related matters; taking long breaks, or internet shopping and Facebook use during work hours. Implement a social media/phone/internet use policy for staff, as hours can be wasted in this quadrant if left unchecked! If you find yourself procrastinating and slowing down at a certain time each day (eg. the 3pm slump), schedule 10 minutes to get out in the sunshine, take a quick walk, or do whatever will help you get back in the zone.
Decide when to do: Not urgent but important tasks
Important but not urgent tasks are those which help you and the business grow and develop. To build a high-performing business you must identify and prioritise these. Schedule these tasks or they will be postponed to accommodate more urgent things, leading to mistakes and delays.
When the barista orders stock and services the coffee machine, or the welder ensures his tools are cleaned and maintained regularly, they are in this zone. For business leaders, communicating with the team and clients, and making time for business development are not urgent but important tasks. In your personal life it may be taking time to nurture your personal relationships, or making time for exercise. We call this preparing rather than repairing as time spent here up front will save time down the track. This quadrant is simply called The Zone. Schedule time in your calendar to ensure these important tasks are done on a regular basis.
Priority management is just one of the ways Yellow Coaching helps business leaders and their teams achieve success. To find out more, get in touch.
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important” – Dwight D. Eisenhower