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Time is a Unique Resource
How many times have you thought or said, “Sure, I’d love to (take a class, take a vacation, work on an extra skill or project, etc.), but there just aren’t enough time “. When we say, “There just isn’t enough time,” we are shirking our responsibilities.
Let’s look at the time and I’ll show you what I mean.
Time is a unique resource. It cannot be saved, stopped or replaced. It’s interesting, then, that some people seem to “find time” to accomplish things that others don’t. Some people seem to be able to “manage time” better than others and are therefore able to “use time better”.
The fact is, these resourceful people can’t “find time” or “manage time” any more than the rest of us. Time cannot be “managed” or “found”. We all have the same time in a day, a week, a month and a year.
24 hours a day
168 hours per week
8,736 hours per year
613,200 hours in a lifetime (assuming a 70 year lifespan)
306,600 hours remaining (assuming you are now 35)
How many hours do you have left in your life? Take a minute to calculate the time and write your answer in the margin. Compare the accomplishments you’ve made in the time you’ve already lived with the goals you want to achieve in the time you have left. Are you satisfied with where you are and where you are heading?
Ask yourself how you can use the time you have left to accomplish business, career, and personal goals that are meaningful to you. Ask yourself, “What is the one thing I can do TODAY that, if done superbly, would have significant positive results in my service, career, or personal life?” »
Time management is not at all about time; it is a question of priorities. These are the accomplishments that – ultimately – are most important to you. It’s about setting achievable goals and using a planned method to achieve those goals in the midst of the many forces competing for your time each day.
Align your goals with external forces
Have you ever started a diet while on vacation? Unless you opted for a health camp for the holidays, you probably succumbed to the many temptations of tasty and not so healthy foods found in this era. The fact that no one else seemed to be dieting didn’t help either! In short, your goal to lose weight was not aligned with the realities of the season.
The same is true for goals. Goals are easier to achieve if they are aligned with outside forces. For example, if your professional goal is to gain a lateral promotion in another part of the United States, and the company goal is to reduce all transfers, your goal is not aligned with outside forces and you will find it difficult to achieve your goal.
If your goals ARE NOT aligned with company goals, you can be seen as a malcontent – a troublemaker. If your goals ARE aligned with business goals, you are seen as supporting the business and your team is seen as a major contributing force in the organization.
Ask yourself, “Will achieving my goals help the company achieve its goals?” If your goals MAY NOT align with the company’s goals, you may want to revise your goal (or consider finding another company to work for!).
Anchor your goals with internal strengths
It is also important that your goals are rooted in your inner strengths or values. If you don’t value achieving your goal, or if achieving your goal goes against your values and principles, your goal will be difficult to achieve.
Ask yourself, “Will achieving this goal strengthen who I am as a team member, leader, or person?” If your goal MIGHT NOT reinforce who you are, you might want to revise your goal.
Link your goals to other goals
Finally, achieving a goal is easier if it’s linked to another goal you have or someone else’s. You may find that several of your goals may be interrelated; working on one, you can easily work on several. It’s even more powerful to link your goal to that of another person or department.
Ask yourself, “Who else could benefit from achieving this goal?” » Discuss your goal with this person to see if it is possible to work on mutually beneficial goals.
By aligning, anchoring and connecting our goals, they become easier to achieve.
NOTE: Once you have identified your goals, you will want to save them in a prominent place – a place where you can see the goals on a daily basis.
Long-term success happens one week at a time
When you go on a diet, are you “good” every day? If you blow your diet on a night out, are you giving up on your goal? The answer (hopefully) is “no”. Likewise, if your goal is to be promoted within a year and you haven’t done anything today, are you giving up on your goal? The answer is no.” Most people focus too much on the long-term goal OR the day-to-day task. The truth is, you need to look beyond the day-to-day and forward the long-term goal to your intermediate goal. .
Think about how you walk. Try walking, watching every step you take. You may never stumble, but you will definitely lose sight of where you are headed. Now try walking looking at your destination (say a building a mile away); you MIGHT reach your goal if you don’t fall down the steps or get run over by a truck while crossing the street! To walk effectively, you must look forward – not a mile forward, but several steps forward.
To effectively achieve your long-term goals, you must first break them down into intermediate goals, goals that are reasonably achievable within a week (or for longer-term goals, within a month).
You will want to keep track of these intermediate goals on a monthly calendar. NOTE: You’ll also want to track appointments, meetings, and other business action items on this monthly calendar; this will allow you to quickly see how busy or free a specific week will be.
Having long-term and intermediate goals are the first two steps of “time management”. The third step is to ACT! As the saying goes, “The longest journey begins with the first step”.
Many people – all with good intentions – ignore the realities of the day when they start to incorporate their intermediate goals into their daily regimen. They forget they have meetings they’re supposed to attend, work commitments they’re supposed to fulfill, and other things that will strain their available time. As a result, they become frustrated with their lack of progress on their goals and become angry at things – work and family obligations – that take up all of their time.
Take a few minutes each morning to plan your day:
Step 1: Identify your appointments, meetings, and other business action items.
The first step in planning your day is to transfer appointments and other business action items from the monthly calendar. These are non-discretionary: you have already committed to them. Take the time now to transfer all appointments and sales action items from your monthly calendar to your daily calendar in the appropriate places.
Step 2: Plan your daily tasks.
Your second step is to schedule your daily tasks such as phone calls, mail, inbox items, etc. These are less defined activities than the action items, but still require a portion of your day. By scheduling these tasks, you give them time without letting them drive your whole day.
Step 3: Make an appointment with yourself.
Your third step is to “make an appointment with yourself” by identifying the intermediate steps you want to address today. Transfer these discretionary activities (intermediate steps) from your Goal Planning page. This makes discretionary items non-discretionary by simply registering the item in the daily plan. You are moving the future into the present so you can act on it now!
Here are some tips to help you “manage your time” and achieve long-term success:
o Limit the number of activities you plan for a day. Commit to – and complete – a few activities rather than over-committing.
o Make a habit of planning for 15 minutes each day.
o Make your priority first. Period. Schedule a quiet time to accomplish your
o Take a long-term view of your commitments. Does your schedule fill up quickly? Should he? Space your non-discretionary time carefully from week to week.
o Take a medium-term view when planning time for your intermediate steps. “What’s the one thing I know if doing great THIS WEEK would have significant positive results in my department, career, and/or personal life?”
o Use your time tracking system to keep track of important information such as your department, career, personal goals and milestones; your appointments, commercial actions and other commitments; and your contacts.
Entelechy Time Mastery Tip
“What is the one thing I can do TODAY that – if done superbly – would have significant positive results in my service, career, or personal life?”
Terence R. Traut is the President of Entelechy, Inc., a company that helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through customized training programs in the areas of sales, management, customer service and Training. Terence can be reached at 603-424-1237 or email@example.com. Visit the Entelechy website at http://www.unlockit.com.
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