Archive for Time Mastery
Is one of your resolutions to focus on developing your leadership skills? Here are some excellent articles and posts from the past week to help you become a better leader and manager.
Entreprenuer: Richard Branson on Giving Your Employees Freedom
A terrific article written by Sir Richard Branson on the positive impact of having confidence in and trusting your employees.
U.S. News and World Report: 5 Leadership Trends to Watch in 2013
Andrew Graham, president and CEO of The Forum Corporation, a Boston-based learning organization, has some interesting predictions of leadership trends in 2013.
In this coming year you will have 8,760 hours to spend whatever way you choose. Of that 8760, approximately a third (or 2920 hours) will be spent sleeping. But the balance is yours to do with what you wish. How do you want to spend those approximately 3000 hours?
You have to decide on what is important to you – and what is not! You must establish your priorities – what is really important to you, and what is less important. It is your choice! What is your vision for 2013, and what do your hope to accomplish?
Probably the most often heard excuse is “I don’t have the time.” But if you think about it – that is not the issue, because we already have all the time there is. Each day we are given 1440 minutes to do with what we wish, and at the end of the day they are gone and then we have a new set of 1440 minutes. So the issue is not that we don’t have the time, the issues is what we do with the time we are given!
Mastering time is not time management, it is self management – the management of our daily tasks and priorities to ensure that we accomplish what we wish to accomplish. This means managing ourselves, and allocating the time necessary to complete our priorities. If we deduct the time we have to spend in sleeping, eating, and other personal related activities, we are left with about 750 minutes per day that we have to spend on all the other things we want to do.
How then do we master this task?
The following are 7 areas where we might profitably concentrate our efforts.
1. First of all, take stock. We must understand our own strengths, and those areas of our life that require improvement.
2. Establish a clear vision, and set realistic goals. You must know where you are going if you expect to get there. Your realistic goals become your priorities.
3. Set time estimates based on these priorities, and their validity or urgency. Toward the end of each day, set aside some time to plan your next day’s work plan. Then when you arrive at work – adhere to the plan!
4. Identify distractions or interruptions, and work to eliminate them. An example would be to set strict time limits for emails and/or texting.
5. Establish your own system for planning and controlling priorities and their time requirements. Try setting aside daily blocks of quiet time when you will not allow phone calls or text messages!
6. Technology: Is the technology you are using saving your time, or is it consuming time? Is it a help or a toy?
7. Balance your life and your work. Be sure to plan for recreation and/or downtime.
If by following some or all of these points, you could reduce your wasted time by just five minutes every hour, your productivity would jump 8.3%! Hopefully you could do even better!
If you were asked to choose one word to describe disorganization, not getting the work done, lack of achievement, or lack of self-fulfillment – that word would have to be “Procrastination”!
The problem is that we put things off, and they never get done. Or when we finally get around to doing them, we are under so much pressure, that quality simply flies out the window! I believe that all of us procrastinate occasionally. For example, when we decide to check our emails, rather than do that report that is due tomorrow; or when we avoid playing with our children, or making time for our wives or husbands, because of something we perceive to be more urgent?
Procrastination is part of human nature! But when it becomes a habit,or a consistent pattern in the way we act, it can have disastrous consequences. Tasks take on urgency they do not merit and you spend more time – not less – on them; rather than the higher priority tasks that will take the most thought, concentration and energy, and pay the biggest dividends.
Probably the main reason for procrastination is fear of failure. We want to succeed and we are afraid that we won’t do the task right – so we simply postpone it, leading to a rushed job, and increased risk of reduced quality because of time pressures.
The year 2012 is almost two thirds gone! How are you coming with your yearly plan? Have you accomplished the goals you established last January, or are you running a little behind?
Most people want more time, but everyone already has been given all the time there is! So we have to make choices. We have to decide on what is important to us, and what is not. We are not going to get any more time, so we must establish our priorities – those things that are really important to us and those that are less important. It is our choice, but the responsibility for choosing is also ours!
Guiding us in our choices are three principles:
- The first is the “Principle of Responsibility”: You do what you want to do! This is true of every task you undertake. Sometimes you say you were forced into it, or that you had to do it, but in reality, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself. And when all is said and done, you also have to accept the responsibility for your actions!
- The second principle is the well-known “Pareto Principle”. This says that for most events 80% of your results will come from just 20% of your efforts. It is therefore in our best interests to concentrate on the 20% of the factors that will yield 80% of our results.
- The third is the “Principle of Insanity” – credited to Albert Einstein. This principle is simply doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results.
Many years ago Bill Paige, a noted teacher-coach, opened his presentation with the words, “God does not create junk!” He went on to elaborate – saying that all of us have been given gifts or talents that allow us to succeed, and whether we use them, or not, is up to us. Many authors and speakers have underlined that whether we succeed or not, is to a very large extent- our choice!
No matter who you are, you have been given gifts or talents and, if you choose, you can develop them into a successful life. If you can conceive it in your mind, you can achieve it with the proper planning and action.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, was once labelled by his teacher as being too stupid to learn anything. Later he is reputed to have said, “I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Can you imagine how many times along that road he was advised to give it up – that he had invested enough time already, and “It just won’t work”.
When faced with a new or additional task, the leader has three options: do it; delegate it, or forget it! There are a lot of potential consequences attached to that 3rd choice, so a better alternative would be to do it, or delegate it. Trying to do everything yourself, on the egotistical assumption that you can do it better, is a recipe for long term failure!
Delegation, on the other hand, can help to build team member skills and develop motivation. It has the potential to strengthen the team and build a more effective organization.
In today’s fast paced, and ever changing business environment, one of the leader’s many challenges is the maximization of resources. Leaders must be constantly developing new talent. One of the best ways to do this is through delegating tasks.