There is no one secret to time management. In fact, there are three time management secrets. They are easy to learn and remember. The hard part is making yourself use them consistently. Do that, however, and you will master the time management secrets and you will get more done - in your business and in your life.
The Three Secrets of Time Management
There are three key elements of time management. You have to focus first on using your limited amount of time on the most important things. You have to use that time efficiently. And you have to actually do those things instead of just talking or thinking about them.
Do The Right Things First
Perhaps the most important of the time management secrets is to do the right things first. It's easy to lose focus and spend a lot of time on things that are urgent, but not important. The trick is to stay focused on the important things and not waste your limited amount of time on anything else.
- The 80/20 Rule, also known as Pareto's Principle, says that 20 percent of something always are responsible for 80 percent of the results. For example, twenty percent of the products will have eighty percent of the flaws. This article explains the rule in more detail and tells how you can use it to more effectively manage time and many different aspects of your life.
- You can save time by knowing when to step in and when to hang back if an employee has a problem. Managers need to let employees make their own mistakes so they can learn from them. We can train them and advise them, but actual experience is often the best teacher. A good manager, therefore, will hang back and resist the impulse to jump in every time an employee encounters difficulty.
- One time you can't hang back is the difficult employee. Many managers struggle with managing difficult employees. You may be tempted to not deal with them and hope the situation will get better on its own. It won't. These types of tasks will take less time if you address them immediately instead of waiting and then having to spend more time on them later.
Use Time Efficiently
Even when you master the time management secret of only working on the important tasks, you still need to be efficient with your time if you want to get everything done.
- You Can't Really Multi-task. I used to be a major fan of multi-tasking, but I've become a convert to "chunking". The name isn't as exciting, but the results are impressive. Use Chunking Instead of Multi-tasking and you will get more done in less time.
- Many people try using to do lists to help them with time management. Still there somehow never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. You have to use a to do list that helps you stick with your priorities. Here is the system that has worked for me. It can work for you too.
- One final key to using your time efficiently is to not take on more than you can handle. Many times, that means knowing when to say no to your boss.
Get Things Done
You know the importance of doing the right things first and you are good at using your time efficiently. But neither of those will do you any good without the third time management secret - you have to actually get things done. It is not enough to know what to do, to think about doing something, or to talk about doing it. You have to actually get things done.
- Don't let "analysis paralysis" keep you from getting things done. Planning is an important part of the job we do, but it is not an end goal. Don’t let process get in the way of results. Do your planning, but don't lose sight of the need to get the job done.
There are three time management secrets. Focus first on the most important things. Use time efficiently. And actually get things done. The more you use these, the more you will get done of what really matters.