Many people I work with have problems with Time Management and ask me for help. There are many solutions to address this issue, but let’s look at one in this blog, so take 10 minutes from your very busy schedule & step back. BTW, it’s OK. You’ve probably been taught via direct or indirect feedback that it is important to keep busy in order to get all these things done, and if you have a minute to stop you must be shirking work or being lazy or you are on a paid break and want brain down time away from work.
But seriously look at what you have on your to do list…………………………
If you are the boss, ask yourself first: Am I clear on our goals and what high gain activities – those that get you big productivity gains – that I and my staff need to be doing to get the goals we so keenly pursue.
If you are a staff member, ask yourself: Do I know what the division / company goals are? Am I busy for the sake of being busy because my boss is watching, or am I genuinely clear that what I am doing is also going to achieve our goals – if you don’t know the goals, ask someone (topic for another blog).
Divide a blank page into 4 squares with 2 intersecting lines like this : + (but bigger to fill the page to it’s edges).
At the top of the vertical line write Reason, at the bottom of the vertical line write Ritual.
At the very left of the horizontal line write Accomplishment, on the right of the horizontal line write Activity.
- In the left top quadrant (A), list all the things you do that you know have a Reason justifying them being done and are going to get you towards your goal (Reason/Accomplishment)
- In the right top quadrant (C), list all the things you do because there is a Reason for doing them, but they are of low value and take heaps of your time (Reason/Activity)
- and finally, in the left bottom quadrant (B), list the things you do that get you results or great feedback, but you feel are outdated or could be improved (Ritual/Accomplishment).
- In the bottom right quadrant (D), list the things you do that keep you busy and you don’t know why you do them, but you always have (Ritual/Activity)
Now what to do with them??
Reason/Accomplishment (A): Focus on these first. You know why you are doing them and they are high gain actions.
Ritual/Accomplishment (B): Focus on these second or alongside the ones above, they have always been done but there is a reason that they are still important because they get you the required results. Consider however, is there a way to do these better through technology or via delegation?
Reason/Activity (C): Focus on these thirdly. These are usually the boring day to day tasks that need to be done to support the other important activities and can’t be done away with. Consider however, can these also be automated, systematised, delegated or outsourced to others who love doing them (someone will believe me).
Ritual/Activity (D): Ditch these, there is NO reason to do these other than they are outdated rituals that are a waste of time: everyone’s – they are the REAL WASTERS that suck up money, time and People resources, allowing them stay within their comfort zones doing them and rarely being questioned. Stop doing them now!!!
Get the team involved in this exercise if you have one, or do it yourself if it’s just you, and good luck with your Productivity improvement.
PS: Business owners/Bosses a word of advice: don’t assume your staff know the company goals. Everyone needs a) to know where they are going and b)at least the outline of a map or guidelines to get there. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if a lot of time is wasted in getting there much later than you expect, or worse – never getting there.