Time Management Now

By Christina Suter on Apr 06, 2019 at 07:30 AM in Business Issues
Time Management Now

Do you know the difference between a to-do list and a project list? A project has a list of to-dos. The to-dos are the small, action steps taken in order to complete a project. Sometimes we listmakers add broad projects to our list instead of the small, actionable, tasks that should be added.

Example: Project- Paint the kitchen To-Do's: 1. Decide on paint color 2. Purchase paint, rollers, brushes, or sprayer 3. Scrape off old paint 4. Repair holes 5. Prime walls, etc.

Time management means working on the solitary task at hand that can be completed now, crossing that off, moving to the next task, and adding new tasks to the bottom of the list. For years I've done the David Allen and Covey system of to-do lists and every month I go through my list and see what I've completed, whether I've updated my list, and decide if my current projects are and should still be my current projects. Each morning when I get to my office and write a daily to-do list of the things I've committed to getting done that day. The things that are pressing the most come first and when I cross one thing off I complete the next.

Having a successful time-management system is about fulfilling your self-commitments.

When you commit to the commitments you make to yourself you experience joy, confidence, and self-trust. Most of us are good at following through with commitments we make to others and need to strengthen our self-commitment muscle. 

Once you've created your to-do list, establish a filing system. Take all the things on your desk, in your inbox, random post-it notes and sort them, piece-by-piece, into their appropriate category. Pick up an item, identify what it is, why you have, and how it applies, then relate it to a task on your to-do list (which gets you closer to completing a project) and create a physical or digital file to put it in. File things in order of importance and date and continue with the next object, paper, email, or file. Rotate through your files every six months and dump old and empty files that no longer need attention. Sort your active files into categories that work for you, but keep the most time-sensitive ones in the forefront. Older files, things you can't yet toss, but don't currently need--things like tax paperwork and old receipts-- file them in a resource system as archives. This filing system is a reference filing system, which for me is kept in my storage unit. 

What goes on your calendar? More importantly, what doesn't go on your calendar are things you've committed to, but that don't have hard deadlines. Put the things on your calendar that have set dates. If there are things you want to get done tomorrow, even if they're not due tomorrow, put those on your calendar. If you have an upcoming speaking engagement and you need to get your speech written, put speech writing on your calendar for tomorrow so you can have it done, and submit the accompanying slides to your editor or assistant a week before the engagement. Things that expire go on your calendar. 

Project delegation is of great importance when it comes to time management. If you're not training people how to accept a delegated project you're burdening your employees. Identify and define what you're looking for; break your vision down into steps after you determine what the end result you want. Tell your employees what the vision is and then what needs to happen to get to the vision. Deliver to your employee what the successful result you're looking for and how you see that happening, which tells them what their task is. Minimize the how's so you can allow them to remain autonomous and independent. When you allow employees to think for themselves they will be confident in their abilities to problem solve and bring fewer problems to your office door. Communicate the crucial how's (i.e. please save it as a pdf so everyone can open it) and let them handle the rest. Provide your employee with a timeline and deadline and ensure they confirm they can complete it by that time. Put the commitment on your calendar and note the date that you need to check in on their progress and see what additional support they need, if any.