It is the time of the year for time management tips, isn’t it? Well, it is for me, anyway, and I’m going to share them with you one way or the other!
The honest to God truth is that I am not a massive fan of traditional time management techniques, because I really think that the issue is not how to manage time, but to manage oneself!
However, I thought that 4 Tips for Time Management Brilliance was a much better title to this piece than – 4 Things I Will Not Do in 2012. But the reality is my tips are things I will not be doing again next year!
As you know, I am a great believer in personal coaching, and I live by own mantra and have working with the same business coach for quite a number of years now. Every year I want to improve my own performance and engaging in performance coaching with a third party is the only way, in my view, as I believe that the challenge from a third party is what drives the behavioral change that leads to greater success.
So, as part of our review of 2011, I undertook an exercise to determine the things that I believe wasted a lot of my time in 2011 (and before, if the truth be told!), and to identify the key things that I would make sure I would not repeat in 2012.
So here they are:
1. Reacting like Pavlov’s dog: When I did an analysis of how I sent my time over a couple of days – something I would highly recommend, but be prepared to get a fright! – I realized that every time the phone rang, or my email pinged, it distracted me from what I was doing and certainly 75% of the time (and that is being generous to myself!) I either took the call or started looking at the email. What time wasting! Also, I realized that I was now adhering to someone else’s priorities – not my own. I now set out blocks of time for phone calls and emails, and, guess what? I have missed nothing urgent!
2. Reading mountains of stuff I think is relevant. I have suffered from a fear that I must read everything that appears to be relevant, because if I don’t I will miss out on a golden nugget! What have I discovered? A lot of that stuff was just a waste of time, but I justified it with – “well, you never know, it might have been just what I was looking for”. Now, I pick a small number of journals, or authors, or blogs and read those, and I have stopped stock piling stuff “I must get around to” This cuts out a lot of frustration and overwhelm!
3. Taking any contract that presents itself. Yes, I admit it – if someone wanted to hire me and was prepared to pay the fees, and I had the time, I took it on. But I have learned to trust my instinct and only take on those contracts that I am passionate about and where I know there is a good fit between me and the client. If I cannot tick the passion and the fit box, then I move on – for both our sakes! The best work happens when you are passionate about it, and you know you can work together – and that is true for both the coach and the client!
4. Jumping in without testing. I have been guilty of this myself and I certainly see my clients wanting to do it all the time. Before you launch a new business, or a new initiative, or a new concept just stand back and test it first. The amount of time, and money, you will save is huge if you test it – and view the results objectively! Don’t see what you want to see – have clear criteria as to what determines success for the test and what doesn’t. Testing will save you time, money, frustration – and very public failure.
So, these are my 4 tips for time management brilliance in 2012. I truthfully believe that if I follow my own advice about the things I won’t be doing in 2012, I will up my own game and deliver better results.
If you are engaged in executive coaching, then have this discussion with your coach right now. If you are not a recipient of performance coaching, then do something about that today!