Time is a non-negotiable, non-renewable resource, but somehow we all seem to forget this every now and again. There is enormous value in culling through distractions and prioritizing important tasks that require your selective attention. This is especially true in business. Do you proactively engage your day or rather “fall into activity” without rhyme or reason? Think about it. Since time is always of the essence, why would you haphazardly engage in activities that do not provide a valid return on their investment? Doesn’t make much sense, right? But we often waste time and then wonder why we haven’t achieved critical milestones.
Ever wonder how to effectively manage time amidst a sea of competing interests?
Here are three strategies for successfully managing your time and making a bigger impact in business:
1. Begin with the end in mind.
Before starting your week, identify the important results that you need to accomplish. Let’s call them “critical outcomes.” Limit your list to no more than 10 items and schedule them by day based on rigor. Don’t assign two or more equally taxing items on the same day. Allocate a specific period of time to accomplish each and approach with a sense of urgency. When a competing interest arises, ask: Is this activity appropriate given what I need to accomplish today? Every once in a while a dilemma may arise and take precedence, but less frequently than you might think.
Evaluate your success by how many critical outcomes remain outstanding at the end of the week. Your goal is to be at a completion rate of 90% or greater. Carry over any uncompleted outcomes to the next week.
2. Confront distractions.
It might seem difficult to avoid the lure of people, technology, and other attractive nuisances when compared with “work,” but in business you’re responsible for the choices you make. What’s the best choice? Confront distractions. You already know your vices—where you’re likely to fall down and end up drowning in the muck and mire of result impotence. Why not take away the enticement in advance? Recognize distractions for what they are and realize that by mindlessly engaging them, you lose precious time—time that could be better spent doing the things that matter the most.
Evaluate your success by how well you navigated each distraction—proactively confronted, without succumbing—as well as whether you achieved the critical outcome at hand.
3. Evaluate your results.
By taking a closer look at your performance, you can determine where you need to make important adjustments. You should evaluate at two critical periods: daily and weekly. While everything is still fresh in your mind, do a quick performance assessment at the end of each day. Is there anything that sticks out? If so, what impact is it having on your time and performance, good or bad? Abandon whatever isn’t working and beef up what is.
At the end of the week, do a global performance assessment. Look for patterns and trends. Did you notice time periods that were easy to work within? How about someone who constantly comes in to chat during the afternoons? Whatever you find, don’t merely stop at observations. Use the information that you discover to help you successfully manage your time and maximize your results.
Bottom line: Don’t “fall into activity.“ Set yourself up for success. Be proactive and reach for maximum results in business by harnessing the power of time management.
To your success!
Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her website, www.wordsmithrapport.com