Sunday, 19 October 2008

Time Management: Are You Making these 3 Major Time Management Mistakes?

Time management is becoming an ever increasing concern for business owners and entrepreneurs today. Even employees are increasing feeling the strain because as a result of down-sizing and lay-offs people are expected to achieve more in less time.

However, because of poor time management skills, business owners, entrepreneurs and employees are falling far short of what they could and should be accomplishing. This reduced productivity leads to increased stress and massive loss in profits.

Excellent time management can result in the success of a business. Poor time management can not only result in poor performance, it can result in the overall failure of a business.

Thomas Edison said:

"Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can't afford to lose."

He was right.

The 3 major mistakes in time management that many people fall victim to are as follows:

1. Multi-Tasking

Many people are proud multi-taskers but studies have proven that multi-tasking is inefficient.

When you split your focus across many projects nothing benefits from your full undivided attention. Consequently:

~ You make more mistakes.

~ It takes you longer to complete a particular task.

~ It takes you longer to see the fruits of your labour.

It is more effective to prioritise your projects and set aside a dedicated block of time to work solely on that project. Naturally, there are some projects which you won't be able to complete in one sitting. Practice using flowcharts to break down your project and divide each project into smaller discrete blocks of tasks that can be completed in a few dedicated hours.

Focusing all of your mental resources on a particular task may be challenging at first but with practice it will become easier. When you develop your laser focus you will develop flow. And, when you're working in flow you will b able to complete tasks in record time and vastly increase your productivity.

2. Distractions and Interruptions

These come in all guises. To name just a few culprits there's the

~ Telephone
~ Fax
~ Email
~ Newspapers
~ Television
~ Post
~ Social Media sites, e.g. Twitter, Facebook

Yet, generally these are things we can control. We can switch off the telephone. We can hire someone to deal with phone calls and open the post. We can set aside discrete periods of the day, ideally when our energy levels are naturally low, to check email.

We can allocate a set amount of time to participate on Social Media Sites. We can also automate or outsource certain aspects of this. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be valuable for networking, lead generation, promotion, etc. but only if we have a Social Media strategy. You also need to limit the amount of time you speed on these sites or else you can simply end up wasting your time.

Whenever, we are interrupted it can take up to 20 minutes for our full attention to be restored. Often, during this time we may be interrupted yet again which only compounds the negative effect interruptions have on our productivity.

Hence to become more productive it is essential that you learn how to eliminate distractions and interruptions in your working life. You also need to respect other people's time and stop unnecessarily interrupting and distracting others.

3. Fragmented Working Pattern

This is when you start a project for a few minutes and the turn to something else, then go back to the originally project and so on. This is another way to get nowhere fast.

You achieve MAXIMUM effectiveness and productivity when you focus on one thing. This is one reason why meditation is such a valuable tool in helping individuals improve their personal effectiveness. Also, when you think about it, applying your full attention to a particular task is in itself a form of meditation.

The other downside to working in a fragmented, haphazard fashion is that you end up expending far more energy. The result is that at the end of your working day you'll not only wind up achieving less than you had hoped for but you will feel more fatigued and more stressed.

The key is clearly to prioritise the tasks that you need to achieve. Work on the tasks that will result in creating the greatest value first. An important consideration is that what constitutes value is not what you consider to be of value. It is what your clients and customers consider to be of value. In other words, if a particular task results directly or indirectly in generating income for your business and company then this is a task worthy of the investment of your time.

FREE Video on Time Management

For a FREE video with expert time management tips to help you dramatically increase your productivity click the link below:

FREE Expert Time Management Video

1 comment:

  1. If you would like a tool to manage your small business activities and Projects, you can use this web aplication:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (for business but also in other areas of your life), Projects and Tasks. It has a Checklists section, for the routines and repetitive activities that any business has to do. Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time and activities.

    Some features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

    And it's available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it from anywhere.

    ReplyDelete