Recently a client came to me feeling overwhelmed and spread thin. In the midst of all their stress and worry they uttered to me something that I am sure we have all heard many times before: ‘There is never enough time to fit everything in.’
Regardless if they are a front-line staff person, a middle level manager or a CEO, managing time seems to be a common theme. The question that I ask often surprises them, ‘How much time are you wasting?’ To which I often get the response that they don’t have any time to waste because they are too busy, which we all know is an excuse.
All of us have opportunities to be more effective with our time, we just need to look for them. I remember working with a CEO of a large multinational company who was incredible with his use of time. Whether it be at head office or out on a site visit he always managed to make things happen. He never seemed to be stressed or complaining that he was too busy. His view was ‘All people have the same amount of time, I just make sure that I find shortcuts to maximise mine.
Here are a few strategies and shortcuts that you can use to be a time maker:
Track Your Activity and Your Time. For 1 week, track your time. Capture what you spend your time doing and on which task. You will often start seeing a large amount of unproductive time. Although this seems like a simple task, it is incredible to see how much time people waste. By focusing on this, I am able to be more productive with my activities rather than wasting time, as I can pinpoint where time has not been used effectively.
Separate Time Wasters from Time-Outs. Many of us waste time through a range of things from checking and re-reading e-mails, to recovering conversations that don’t need to be rehashed, to getting lost on Facebook. There are however many benefits of making time for ‘Time Outs’. These are the small activities that may not be completely work related, however they recharge our mind and our energy. Sometimes going on a 15-minute walk in the middle of the day can be an incredible ‘Time Out’ that recharges your battery and allows you to be more productive afterwards. Take time for these ‘Time Outs’ that give you a boost.
Stack Your Activity. I recently had to travel to another city for a client meeting. Rather than just travel down for one meeting, I focused on ‘stacking’ my day to maximise my time. I used Google Maps to identify distances between locations and then set up meetings to allow me to minimise any down time between. The result? A total of 6 effective meetings in the same day (and still home for a late dinner with the family!)
So the next time you hear yourself saying that you are really busy, take a moment to reflect on the activity that you have been doing. Ask yourself if you have been wasting your time or if you have been maximising it. Click here if you’d like to have a chat about my EOFY Programs that enables your staff to become time makers not time wasters!