As the New Year approaches, I am taking this opportunity to examine my day- today time management habits and looking for things that either drain or gain my time.
Let’s be honest- I’m not as efficient as I could be. I write multiple “To-Do” lists and tend to only use one. My filing system in Outlook is not as well kept as it could be, which leaves me constantly spending precious time searching for things.
The biggest time sucker is that sometimes I procrastinate. Rather than tackling my toughest challenge as soon as possible, I put it off until it has to get done- this usually leaves a mess behind that I then have to pick up the next day- wasting more time.
The trickle effect of all this is drained energy. My time is then not my own. Occasionally, I don’t get to check off nearly as many things as I would want from my many “To-Do” lists.
Time management, like conversation, is a skill. It takes discipline and tools to help get organized, so your time becomes your own again.
Equally important is figuring out what you do need to get done, so once you have all that time you know what you need to accomplish.
In the Fierce Delegation model, there are tools to become aware of your gainers and drainers. Here are three great tips to move in the energy saving direction.
1. 5 Things to Do
It’s good that I write “To-Do” lists. It’s not good that I write so many. First things first: examine your current organizational system and make sure it works, and you’ll actually use it.
Next, before you leave for the night, write down 5 things you will accomplish the next work day. It’s 5 things, not 2 or 3 or 10. Don’t leave the office until you’ve completed and checked off your 5 things. Then, before you go, write 5 more. This is a muscle – it takes practice to build strength.
2. Recruit a “5 things Buddy”
Just like when you hit the gym after a long sabbatical, having someone to help keep you on track is a huge helper. Perhaps you enlist another colleague who suffers in the time-management department and wants to become more disciplined, or a colleague where this is his or her strength. Learn from and bounce ideas off them. Early on, this buddy system might help you o stay on track.
3. Energy Drainer/Energy Gainer List
It’s not always just about inefficiencies. Sometimes you are doing work that is no longer your job, or never was. In the Fierce Delegation Model, we take a hard look at what’s on our plate and have Fierce Conversations with ourselves about what needs to stay and what needs to go.
You can begin to do this by writing a list of energy drainers and energy gainers. For the drainers: what can you eliminate within the next 30 days? For the gainers: which ones can you implement within the next 30 days? Awareness is the first step, and then action!
Good luck, and Happy Time Management!