We are a trifle busy at the moment, in fact I have been watching Trish’s back a lot recently as she disappears off somewhere else!
All this is good for business, but as we have a number of exciting projects that we are working on, it doesn’t leave us much time for the consultation process. Meetings are being squeezed in between dashing off to Sydney, and conducting another workshop; writing deadlines are whooshing past uncompleted with frightening speed – and I find myself standing in my office wailing “Where did the time go?”
What I need to do is get back to some good old fashioned time management.
Alan Lakein had the right idea – he said that time equals life; and if we waste our time then we waste our life. However if we master our time then we gain mastery over our life.
So how to gain that mastery over life again is my Monday Morning Question.
Well, the first thing that seems to have escaped me is the “Prioritised Plan”. Forgetting this is easy if we slip into commitments without placing them in context. It is easy to say “Yes, I can do that – next Thursday? Not a problem!” only to find when we go to put it in the diary that we are already booked.
Having the diary is only step one; referring to it is step two and actually using it correctly is step three. I never seem to allow the right amount of time for activities; I always seem to underestimate the time required, and I realised that is because I never actually think the appointment through.
For instance I am meeting Fred for coffee to discuss the design for the next brochure; time 10.00 am. That’s fine, my diary is blank for then so I confirm.
Except I have a meeting with my partner to discuss a request for a new workshop at 8.30 am in the Trischel office; and the appointment with Fred is in the city – about 30 minutes away depending on the traffic.
The training meeting will take time, they always do. It is the opportunity to talk out our ideas, make suggestions, discuss activities and decide outcomes. If I now have to cut it short to allow myself time to get to the city Trish will not be pleased. And rightly so! We pride ourselves on our innovative ideas for training, but that depends on a lot of interaction which needs careful planning – and while we do some really good work under pressure, we get much more exciting ideas when time is on our side.
You see, when I make arrangements for meetings I often forget to factor in the travelling time both there and back. It makes for a rather messy diary.
I also need a “Task List” – that is a list of things that I need to do, and the time frame I have to do them in. When listing them down I don’t need to prioritise – I can do that later, and then I need to look at what I negligently write down on the Task List – Prepare the workbooks for Project X looks easy, until I actually write down each step needed to complete it.
It is no use just listing the task and assigning a ridiculous time frame. To understand what is really involved I need to list the steps in detail – this give me a good idea of what is a much more realistic time frame. More trouble has been caused by impossible time lines than any business can cope with.
Now I have my “Task List” I have a better idea of what needs to be done, and I can actually begin to sort them out in order. It is here when we realise just how optimistic we have been! “Get the manuscript to you by next Friday” when I have already promised to deliver a couple of hours personal coaching, when the project destined for Melbourne is still only in the mental planning stage and we haven’t even started on the marketing for that next workshop down the coast next month!!!
Hmmm – I might have to spend some extra time on the phone, rearranging some dead lines!!
It’s when we feel swamped by what needs to be done that we begin to start the stress cycle. And often we accept tasks and deadlines without thought and certainly without putting them into perspective. Consequently we find that we have not assigned adequate time for their proper completion and the result is either incomplete or incompetent work, or a stressed out worker.
There are a number of other ideas to help us manage our time, but I have focused on the one thing that I have found deficient in my case.
As I said, we have a number of really exciting projects in the pipeline, and each one deserves careful consideration, planning and organisation – all of which takes time. And to ensure that we complete them effectively we need to plan our time carefully. So – that’s the blog finished for today – hang on, let me cross that off my task list – done!!
Now onto to the next thing – breakfast!! And I keep Winston Churchill’s words in mind at all time:
“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”
Michele @ Trischel