Time…the one resource we can’t buy or make more of. You can’t steal it, or borrow someone else’s. It’s the epitome of a FINITE resource. 168 hours a week. That’s all we have. No more.
“You delay, but time will not.” – Ben Franklin
Here are a few strategies to assist you in maximizing your time, in order to be as productive as possible?
1. Keep a time track journal.
For ONE week, for every hour you are awake make note of what you were doing, whether you were productive, and why/why not. At the end of that week, review your weeks’ worth of journal entries with an eye towards noticing any evident patterns. Specifically pay attention to:
When are you most/least productive? Time of day, days of week;
What are you doing when you are most/least productive?; and
What enabled you to be most productive or prevented you from performing at an optimal level?
“People hurry so they can get to places faster, where they’d rather not be, so they can have more time to do things they’d rather not be doing.” Peter Turla
Now, start applying adjustments to your daily (work-life) rituals based on the trends you noticed from your week of observation. Apply to a second week of productivity/time utilization tracking. At the end of every day assess how you performed.
At the end of the second week, you will have TWO weeks of data and one week’s worth of new tactics you attempted to apply to your old work patterns.
Make similar adjustments as done at the end of week one. Implement the learned outcomes from the past two weeks in one final (THIRD) week of productivity/time tracking.
At the end of those three weeks, you will notice a discernible uptick / increase in your overall effectiveness as reflected in increased productivity. Research shows by committing to this three week behavior modification process, you will “find/create/steal back” two to seven hours of saved time/ increased productivity time gains.
2. Develop a time investment strategic plan.
Step 1: Collect all tasks to be managed whether it’s urgent or not, big or small, personal or professional.
Step 2: Prune it. For all items, decide whether you need to tackle it or not.
Step 3: Organize and Prioritize: Place all tasks that fall under the same project into the same category. Make sure all of your projects and tasks / actions are correctly grouped together.
Prioritize your projects with their component actions/tasked, based on importance.
Prioritize your tasks/actions as follows:
Priority 1: Most important To-Do’s with least amount of time to get them completed;
Priority 2: Also critically important but a bit more time to complete than your Priority 1 actions;
Priority 3: Not very important but must be completed fairly soon. Delegate these; and
Priority 4: Not very important, not much time urgency. Get rid of!
Planning to achieve the desired productivity. Some best practices:
• Be me-th-od-ic-al.
• Establish routines and stick with them…except when you DON’T/CAN’T!
• Assign clearly defined roles and responsibilities for yourself.
• Keep records…and keep them UPDATED.
• Schedule time to do the work you HATE.
• Expect/embrace the unexpected. in fact… planning helps mitigate against unanticipated interruptions!
My time investment program PPT.
Ethan L. Chazin, MBA
Chief Motivation Officer