You don't mange time. You manage priorities.
Happy Halloween! You know what is scary? How many of us struggle with how to manage our time? Here’s something even more frightening: you can’t manage time. An hour is going to pass no matter what you do. You can’t stop time. You can’t control time. Now, that is scary!
What we can do is manage what we do with our time and our priorities. If you have ever said, I didn’t have time? Do you realize what you are saying? Are you saying that you can’t manage your priorities? That sounds harsh, but it is true!
It’s not easy. We all struggle with managing our priorities and become guilty of telling someone we do not have time.
There are two elements to managing priorities. The first is understanding the most essential things you must do, and the second is your strategy to complete those tasks.
Amazingly and with dedication, people have figured out how to manage their priorities! How do they do it? Here are some ideas:
- Use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, which breaks tasks into urgent and less-urgent categories. Urgent has two sub-categories: do first and delegate. Less-urgent also has two categories: schedule and don’t do.
- Stay focused. If you are working on something and remember you need to complete a different task, or something pops up, put it on your calendar so you remember to do it. Then, you can return to focusing on the task at hand.
- Some people do the 1-3-5 rule. Each day, accomplish one big, three medium, and five small things.
- Politely decline to accept tasks not aligned with your overall mission.
- Use a calendar and give every minute a job, also called time blocking. Plan what to do throughout the day and leave a third of the day open for unexpected things that arise; that way, you don’t fall behind.
- Use a list. There are all kinds of apps to help you organize your time, or go old school and use a pen and paper and cross items off as you complete them. Do what works for you. However, we recommend you block your list on a calendar and work from your calendar.
- Many time management gurus recommend that you do the most dreaded item of the day first.
- Use a timer - a great trick to stay focused. Set the time for 25 minutes and work to complete your task; take a quick break, set the timer for 25 more minutes while you work, and then take a break and continue this rotation until the task is complete. This method is called the Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo.
- Attend our Managing Time and Priorities workshop on Friday, October 27.
Prioritize what you need to do, then pick a strategy to make those things happen. You will feel less stressed and more organized, earning the trust of those around you because they know you will always get it done on time.