Doing What You Want, Doing What You Need
Pretty much everyone agrees that the best plans and strategies are useless - unless people make enough time to get them done.
If you're a MANAGER, a SUPERVISOR, or an ENTREPRENEUR and you want to manage your time better – starting now - you'll get straightforward help that actually works in today's businesses.
The great Peter Drucker once said that until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else. Yet time itself is simply a measurement. Principally, it measures motion, the earth's orbit around the sun. And we all get the same twenty four hour allocation. So what do we 'manage' when we save ourselves time? Well, as one example, when you take a proper look at how every business, every organization makes people do things at least twice (instead of once) you'll see how to manage 'motion' and save more hours than you might imagine.
In fact, the '7Keys' authors have 30 years of experience helping managers at all levels, across most industries, from CEO level to first-line supervisor. And they share more of the practices that great time managers actually use to manage their time.
Ten Short, Illustrated Videos
The course has 10 illustrated video talks that each take about 5 to 7 minutes to watch. Each lecture concludes with a 'Take-away' - a page summary of the key points of the talk and the the action you can take right away for immediate progress.
It comes with a PDF workbook containing a lecture summary, illustrations and your chapter by chapter action lists.
The course discusses nine major topics, major time-management principles and the opinions of various time-management gurus. Most of all it doesn't do a 'one-size fits all' but gives you the menu to choose which principle will give you, personally the biggest gain right now.
1. Focus - what is it and how can you increase it and direct it to accomplish more?
2. Motion - how do you spot and reduce the occasions where you inadvertently waste or misdirect your actions, do things twice and use double the time?
3. Energy - when does your brain function best for what type of work activity?
4. Clutter - what effect does it have on losing you time and what can you do?
5. Your Optimal Organizing System - what is it for what you do?
6. Prioritization - from pointless meetings to your primary focus, how do you manage your priorities when priorities shift?7. 80/20 Rule - what activities give you the biggest payback for the energy you expend - and which ones drain you
8. Planning - do you have the simplest, best planning system for the work you do?
9. Do-it-Now - how do you put this golden rule, procrastination killer into action?
If you believe, as Peter Drucker says - until you can manage time you can manage nothing else - this course could be the biggest boost for your management activity, your personal productivity and your career.
In this lecture we look at one of the most recounted stories on time-management is about a man named Ivy Lee, and it certainly describes 'focus'.
In the middle of the last century, the young Princeton graduate, Ivy Lee, told steel magnate Charles M. Schwab, how he could increase productivity in the Bethlehem Steel Corporation by 50%.
Schwab claimed he and his executives knew WHAT to do. Getting those things DONE was the problem.
Lee gave Schwab a sheet of paper. On it, he told him to make a list of the six most important things he had to do the next day. Then, number them in order of importance.
Look at the list at the beginning of the workday and start working on the first item. Schwab was supposed to review the list throughout the day but not be too worried if he didn't finish all the day's listed items.
We have more on Focus.
Why is it so hard to focus?
Let's look first at HOW you focus.
Focusing is not a passive activity. You're actively, mentally placing energy in a direction - like looking at a door for instance. Our metaphors in language talk about 'shedding light' on something. Well it's a matter of how much light YOU can shed. Lots of light = good image, less light = fuzzy image and fuzzy image usually means hesitant action.
We will help you to "clear" your image
This is all about your Working memory
When you prioritise, mentally, you have to be able to search for and find = remember, and hold on to images, impressions, memories, – while you're busy constructing new images (imagining what the new outcome will involve, the sequences, the people involved, the logistics and so on. And you have to hold all this in place and at the same time you have to inhibit, suppress, push away all the associated thoughts, memories and images that pop into your head that might be linked to people or things to do with what you're thinking about but which aren't directly involved.
It's tiring even talking about it.
To really get an understanding of 'efficiency' and time-management, we need to go back to the early 1900s. The subject was often called 'time and motion' and it was incredibly useful in the great manufacturing era.
The concept is simple. All motion uses time. Cut out unnecessary motion and you save time. Lots of it.
Humans, along with most other mammals, are intermittent organisms. We need to close down occasionally.
We 'repair' when we sleep and when we relax deeply. Even not being allowed to dream while we're asleep causes us serious problems. No-one really knows why but we give you some ideas.
Your Action Plan and Applying What You've learned
Remember we talked about the fact that 'one size doesn't fit all' in time - management – so let's take an overview of some of the common time management advices so that you have a broad menu of options, and you can decide what will work best for you at this point in time.
The first one is Clear Clutter:
Nearly all time management programmes advise this as a very early step.
Getting Organised is an Obvious next step.
All programmes also advise this.
Once you've cleared your clutter, organising what remains, which is usually a LOT less, is a much easier task.
What's the most important, most valuable thing I can do this week or this month or this quarter – it's up to you -- for the department or division - or the company? Write it down under your 6-8 categories list.
If it really is THE most important thing, check it against the percentage of time you actually spend on it now. We bet it's not enough. Then figure out how much time you need to claw back to give to it. You can use things like the 'One touch' Inbox, conserving your strategic thinking time, clearing your clutter and organising yourself for faster motion, updating your daily action plan for the following day and so on. Give yourself a target and write your plan.
The idea here, of course, is to be more effective by doing what really counts more often. 'The 80/20 Rule' can boost your effectiveness too.
The rule is based on a finding by 19th Century Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. 'The Pareto Principle' or '80/20 Rule' basically maintains that effort and results are not usually in balance.
If you get into assigning those tasks and projects against time – placing them in your calendar to decide when you WILL do them – you're into good planning.
And if you keep most things in your calendar it allows you to physically see what else needs to be done, so you can make better decisions about priorities.
There are lots of techniques to help with planning, but the basic concept is simple. You are doing something today that will shape your tomorrow.
As we said, we don't always go to the trouble of identifying projects formally, so you might have a few more on the go than you realise.
And last but not least, anyone who wants to manage time better needs to find a way to Overcome Procrastination.
We lose 29% of our time at work, due to procrastination and we all find clever ways to put off doing things we don't like to do.
We avoid taking action for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with uncertainty – like the examples of unclear objectives and priorities. The potential feeling of discomfort we imagine we'll get from doing the task makes us keep putting it off.
The problem is that we spend our valuable focus and attention, worrying about what it is we should be doing and haven't done. It's a major energy sapper and deep down we all know what a great feeling of relief we get when we finally DO what we should have done.
The obvious trick is to find the right entry point that will make the biggest difference to you FIRST. Remember the 80/20 rule? What will give you the BIGGEST payback for your effort?
Whether or not you're a manager, the more time we can all devote to doing the things that shape our future the way we want it, the better future we'll have. And we'd all like to change things for the better, at work and at home.
Before you decide what you need from 'time management' it might be a good idea for you to take the time to answer the question on the first page – if you already haven't.
When the answer is compelling enough, get some individual help if you can and at least make a start by using the exercises we've suggested.
It'll be worth it.
We wish you the very best return on all your efforts.
The 7Keys’ Solutions provides online management training for start-ups, managers and teams. Topics focus on management and team effectiveness. The easy-to-absorb E-learning modules are developed from IBT’s successful classroom training for global organisations (UK and Iceland) on management and personal development. Books, manuals and checklists are all included in the programmes.
Ron Hopkins and Gunnar Jonatansson are owners of 7 Keys Solutions.
They have been running training courses on time management for teams and team leaders since 1985. Specialities: Executive & Team Leader Coaching, Time Management, Psychometrics, Manager As Coach trainer