‘Listing all the jobs you face is a good start, but it’s not enough. Allocate each job a priority.’
“I haven’t had time.” What this phrase means of course is … “Sorry, I haven’t done the job I promised, as I do not have the discipline or skill to plan my time properly.” If you’ve been inclined to say “I haven’t had time”, there’s only one solution to your problem – develop the discipline and skill to manage your time more effectively. Doing this will eliminate the problem from your mind and the words from your vocabulary. You will find your quality of life ticks upwards: stress levels decline or disappear, you’ll have time for the kids in the evenings and be able to wet a line in the farm dam over the weekend. And to top it all, your business will improve because you’re doing the jobs that really matter.
Good time managers have a range of tips and tricks. One of their techniques is the “to do” list. I used to lie in bed sometimes feeling overwhelmed with work. Which jobs to do first? Which one has slipped my mind? What about the one I missed yesterday? A friend suggested I keep a notebook by my bed, and if something was yo-yoing back and forth in my mind, I should write it down. It works like a charm. I don’t know why, but the process of committing a job to paper physically moves it from the mind to the page. This is the power of the “to do” list, the simplest of ideas, but one of the most effective ways of organising yourself and reducing stress.
Listing all the jobs you face is a good start, but it’s not enough. Allocate each job a priority in proportion to its importance (not necessarily the same as its urgency). Rank jobs from (very important) to E (unimportant). Remember Pareto’s principle: 20% of what you do delivers 80% of the results. Focus on the key 20%, and ruthlessly downgrade the rest. Is each job really necessary? Can’t you delegate it to someone else?
After prioritising comes scheduling. Now’s the time to diarise. Start with the A’s at the top of your list, and schedule the jobs into your diary. Make appointments with yourself to tackle these jobs, and once made, do not change the appointment lightly. Allocate your time in three different categories: job time, for tackling jobs on the “to do” list; contingency time, for those important things that will come at you without any warning; and discretionary time, for family, fishing and fun.
Spend 10 minutes updating your “to do” list and time schedule at the end of each day. Spend an hour reviewing both at the end of the week. Your payback will be many extra blocks of time available, and a stress-free life all the way to a ripe old age. Try it. It works. Contact Peter Hughes on (031) 745 7303 or e-mail [email protected]. |fw