Monday, September 17, 2007

Time Management: Put First Things First

Here is an article I came across that has some good advice for those of us who struggle with getting tasks completed and have a feeling of being overwhelmed at times. Hope it helps to get your work week off to a good start!

Carole DeJarnatt

Time Managment Tip: Put First Things First and Avoid A Common Time Managment Mistake

A common time management mistake is to attempt to do too many things and not distinguish between the important and critical. What is time management? Time management, in the true sense of the word, can be defined as doing the right thing the right way at the right time. When one does not do things in the right way, i.e., prioritize things that have to be done, a lot of time is taken up in doing the non-essentials.

The golden rule of time management is to put first things first. Do things in order of importance and avoid wasting time on the non essential. The 80/20 rule applies here. 80% of your results will depend on the critical 20% of things that are the most important. The key is to identify what is important.

Identify things that can only be done by yourself, and no one else. These are the critical success factors in time management and your life. Ask yourself , "What one thing could I do, that I'm not currently doing, which, if I did it regularly would make the biggest difference in my life?" Then devote as much time as you can to activities that make a difference and contribute most to your happiness and success.

In your life, think of the most crucial thing that would make a difference. For example in terms of finance management, Is it improving your skills at your current job, learning another skill so you can prepare for the future, or tidying up your finances so you won't be losing money?

For example, in a retail shop, what is the number one thing that will make a difference in their bottom line? To improve sales. So the most effective time management practice and goal setting tool would be to improve sales. They can brainstorm ways to do this. Rather than focusing on other things, like renovating the shop front so it would look nicer, which they've always wanted to do. But it is not effective use of time and resource at the moment.

How about the most effective way to spend time with your kids? Is it cooking meals and doing the laundry for them, or spending time to help them in their schoolwork? For example, the cooking can be left to someone else so it will free you to spend quality time with children. They can have their full stomachs and you at the same time.

Brainstorm a list of things that only you can do. Then prioritize in the order of importance. This is the essence of time management – identifying things that do matter. So that you can have time for things that matter.

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