Time management doesn’t work!

August 29, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, August 29, 2012

Have you ever wondered why time management doesn’t stick?  You know what I mean… You try this course, read that book, get this app, make lists, use the calendar (digital or paper), schedule, prioritize – and still feel frustrated, overwhelmed and have no time!

Why is that?

I have a theory. I think most books, courses and systems are working on the pieces of the puzzle. But they are only working on the 10% of that iceberg that is above the water line!

And the 90% of the issue that is below the surface is exactly why the pieces don’t seem to fit together, no matter what you do.

We have all had the experience of committing to something – scheduling the time to take care of it – and then completely ignoring our plan. We forget. We get busy with something else. Some emergency is way more pressing in the moment. Our alarm didn’t go off. We got distracted online. Our errands ran long. The phone rang. The kids got sick. We got sick. It rained. The dog ate a sock. Blah, blah, blah.

And then we feel bad. We wonder what is wrong with us that we can’t get a simple task done. We can’t follow a simple plan. We can’t stick to a schedule.

So we stop trying. We decide that ‘it just doesn’t work for us.’

What if it isn’t us? What if it isn’t even the system or structure we are using?

Clearly, there is something else at play here. Some other unexamined commitment is in control of our time and our actions. And until we distinguish what that competing commitment is, whatever we try will have limited impact.

Something to think about: You can’t manage time anyway. If you can, go ahead, manage the next minute and tell me how it goes.

So, if you can’t manage time – what can you manage?

You can manage your energy, and you can manage your actions. And that’s where the next post will start!

 

©  Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.

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When is a task not a task?

August 9, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, August 9, 2012

Do you under-estimate the time something will take when planning your work?

A client said she was discovering that many things were taking longer than she originally thought and had originally planned for. (We were discussing the progress she was making in taking control of her schedule and her results.)

This is not an unusual situation, but I was curious, so I started asking questions. For example, she had blocked 90 minutes to write a blog post, but was finding that wasn’t enough time. I wanted to know why was it taking over 90 minutes to write the post.

It turns out she was:

(1) researching the post,
(2) writing the post,
(3) editing the post,
(4) loading the post up to the blog,
(5) finding just the right image for the post, and finally
(6) publishing the post.

But she was calling that block of time “writing blog post.”

OK, now I see the problem. Like many people, she had collapsed TASK and PROJECT. So, when I asked her to schedule her tasks, she thought she was doing what I said, but in fact she was trying to cram a project into a time slot for a task.

Have you ever done that? And why do you need to keep them distinct?

Well, if she just devoted that 90 minutes to writing, she would have written enough material for 2 or even 3 separate blog posts. She would have kept herself in the flow of writing.

When you break your projects into the separate tasks, you can make huge progress even when you only have little bits of time available. But when you collapse the two – you might not even start because the whole project seems so overwhelming and you just don’t have the time!

How do you know what is a task, and what is a project? Well, the simplest definition: A task is a single action. Anything that requires more than one single step is a project.

Plan a party is a project. Set the date for the party is one task in that project.

Productivity tip: Go back over your “task list” – make a note of where you are collapsing tasks with projects. See if you can batch the tasks that are similar.

I promise, you will get MORE done that way.

 

©  Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


101 things you can do (or stop doing) to get more time [part 4]

August 1, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, August 1, 2012

Are you ready for the next batch? Have you tried any of the first 75 tips I gave you in part 1, part 2 or part 3?

If you still don’t think it’s important to get control of your time, you might want to read The High Cost of Distraction.

Hang on to your hat… Here’s the final batch of tips (for now).

  1. Put your bills on automatic payments
  2. Exercise – regularly move your body
  3. Hire someone to do your bookkeeping
  4. Have a lawyer review your contracts
  5. Get your will done!
  6. Get your advanced medical directive done
  7. Get a durable power of attorney done
  8. Get rid of (give away / donate) what you don’t use or don’t need
  9. Send that pile of mending to the tailor
  10. Checklists are your friend
  11. Use a packing list when traveling
  12. Make up a duplicate toiletries kit, and leave it in your suitcase
  13. Take a short break every hour
  14. Focus on one thing at a time
  15. Set a timer
  16. Give up being a perfectionist
  17. De-clutter your office
  18. Don’t print that if you don’t really need a hard copy!
  19. Keep an extra printer cartridge and an extra ream of paper
  20. Build a favorite items list at your online office supply site, and use it
  21. Do your single most important task first each day
  22. Facebook will wait
  23. Voicemail is there for a reason, use it when calling out
  24. Let your incoming calls go to voicemail, too
  25. Be careful how often you play phone tag
  26. Take notes on client calls

 

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


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