Without question, the most frequently addressed topic with my coaching clients is time management. In some form or fashion, it comes up as part of just about every coaching relationship. In a fast-paced society where organizational consolidations and downsizing have forced just about everyone to do more than ever with fewer resources than ever, people continually find themselves harried, hurried, harassed and constantly short on time and energy.
“There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
“How do I keep up with 150 e-mails every day?”
“I need more balance in my life.”
I am going to offer a series of blogs on time management issues over the next several weeks that I hope will help you identify and implement strategies to make you more productive, effective, happier and maybe even feeling better about yourself. Those blog offerings will center around several themes that regularly emerge as challenges to people struggling with time management issues, including:
Boundary management – One of the biggest time eaters is failure to control the length of meetings. I can’t begin to tell you how much time people waste every single week in 90 minute meetings that should only last 60 minutes. Do the math on that over a period of a year and you begin to realize how much time you could make available for other things just by being more efficient in meeting time. There are specific techniques that can be used to control meetings lengths AND make your meetings more effective at the same time.
Many people also struggle with intrusions that are made by people invading their space, either in person or via e-mail, text message or telephone. Set boundaries by closing the door, turning off the phone or e-mail, and watch what happens.
Prioritize – I encourage clients to keep a diary of their day. Log how much time you spend on each task. Identify time wasters. Say no to non-essential tasks. Then, we’ll look at how to prioritize your tasks, which may include taking some projects OFF your list.
Delegate – Managers who fail at delegation tend to fall into one of two categories. There are those who don’t delegate enough, if at all. They are control freaks who don’t want to let go and often don’t trust others to do the job. The other group is managers who delegate without really empowering employees with the authority to do the job. In either case, managers lose valuable time by failing to appropriately and effectively delegate authority.
Get the Stress Outta Here – You might be amazed how much more effective you would be at time management by implementing some good stress management practices. Take a break during the day and stretch. Go for a walk. Start an exercise program. Enjoy your weekends. Take your vacations. Get sleep.
Create a time management plan – We build business plans, construction plans and vacation plans. Why not build a plan to help you conquer one of the most important every day challenges you face? We’ll look at how to set time management goals as part of your plan and how to track your progress. Use your plan to help you incorporate new techniques and organizational programs into your time management system.
Stay tuned. More to come in the weeks ahead—if I have the time! J