How to Improve Your Time Management
One of the most common things that I come across working with people in business (especially business owners) is the comment that ‘I just have too much to do and not enough time to do it’. This generally sums up one of the major feelings of ‘stress’ in business i.e. the feeling of being out of control.
As you may be aware the Pareto Principle (more commonly known as the 80 / 20 rule) applies to many areas of business. Now experience has shown that, on average, many people are actually working productively for only 20% of their working week until they start to focus on how they plan their week and their use of time.
Effective time management is not just about productivity though – it’s essential to your health too (and it’s one of the key determinants of your business success). This is mainly due to the fact that you generally feel good about yourself in relation to the level of control you have over time, work and your life. It is not unusual, when coaching clients, that we see a substantial increase in time management effectiveness enabling business owners to double their previous output results in quite a short period of time. One of the best results I have had to date was coaching a business owner and reducing the hours he worked ‘in’ his business from 80 hours a week to just over 30 hours a week in just 3 months. Interesting thing was, we also saw an increase in turnover as well!! So here are some thoughts for you: What difference would it make to your business right now if you could increase your effectiveness by, say, just ten per cent each day? What would it mean to you if you could double your own productivity? What difference would it make to you financially? What difference would it make to you in your personal life?
So how will you improve your current management of time?
It’s partly down to self belief (believe it or not). Beliefs are our way of seeing the world – they are how we interpret reality. The same event (say doing a sales presentation for your business) may be stressful for one person and not even register on the stress scale for another. So it’s not actually the event – it’s how we perceive the event. This is the same with time – if we believe we are great time managers then we will behave in a way that will support this belief. It is also important to remember that in business:
Time is money. Isn’t it?
It’s a well quoted saying that ‘time is money’, but doesn’t time greatly exceed the value of money? You can always make more money, but once your time is used, then it’s gone forever. So how can you start to improve your time management? Well, as with any change that you make in your life you have to have an overwhelming desire to WANT to change. Now, with time management you may need a combination of things you are sick and tired of doing, day in day out, that are giving you the same results (i.e. things you want to move AWAY from) coupled in with how you and your business will benefit from being an outstanding time manager. One thing I can promise you is that you will radically alter your business performance and personal life by improving your management of time.
The interesting bit here though is having the willpower and determination to persist. This is why either telling others about what you are doing, and / or employing the services of a coach, will propel you forward. As a coach, the main reason I get results is through client accountability – once you have agreed that you want to change you are accountable until you have your gained desired results. It’s a great motivator. The more you push your old management of time out of your life, the more you will see the results of your new time management coming into your life.
As with everything in life: Persistence Pays
Time management is really life management. If you improve the quality of your time management you will improve and enhance all parts of your life. So, in effect, your life quality is determined by your time management quality.
So, here’s some actions for you to do:
1) List twenty things that you would ‘move away from’ (i.e. things in your business and life that you are just plain tired of that are a result of your current time management). E.G you are sick and tired of getting home late / working weekends / running around like a headless chicken – you get the idea.
2) List a further twenty things that you would ‘move towards’ if you were a great time manager (i.e. spend more time with family, increase business performance, etc)
Now, if you’re thinking ‘oh, I don’t have time for this’ then maybe…just maybe… it’s time for you to take some ‘time out’ and look at the payoffs that great time management will give you. Only then will you start building your motivation to change.
We all have 86,400 seconds in a day. With that in mind, how do you want to use yours?