Friday, January 7, 2011

When Will I Ever Get Caught Up With Everything That I Need To Do?

 Hey there,

Have you ever felt that you could spend your entire lifeworking on one task after another and never get done? That's avery common feeling... and you know what, you are absolutelyright!

  We live in a time when there is more stuff to do than anyonecould possibly accomplish in an entire lifetime.

  If you think that one day you'll finally get caught up,completely empty your backlog and be left with nothing more todo,

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but that day will NEVERcome... there's always more stuff you could do.
  Just think about all the books that are available for you toread. You could spend your entire life reading one book after another and never get done reading them all.

My goal here is not to depress you, but to help you thinkabout your tasks in a new and more productive way. To realizethat just because you CAN do something doesn't necessarily meanthat you'd want to or even that you should.

 Effective time managers KNOW that they can't possibly doeverything that is available for them to do... so they don't eventry.

  Instead of trying to do everything, effective time managersfind good, worthwhile things to do, things that can really make adifference in their life and career, and focus their limitedamount of time doing those things quickly and well.
  This means that you have to be willing to make difficultchoices, to stop doing some things so you can focus your time on better things instead.

 Your ability to find these worthwhile things to do, the onesthat can really make a difference, and distinguish them from thelow value busywork that doesn't really matter that much is one ofthe key factors that determines how well you manage your time.

Here are a couple of suggestions to help you get started with the process:

1) Make a written list of your main work responsibilities rightnow
  What is your job right now? What are the different areas where you can make a difference? What do you need to work on to produce excellent results?
  This list will help you think about all the ways that youcould be spending your time. It's very difficult to do this type of analysis in your head, so put it in writing and make it as detailed as you need to.
For example, a small business owner may come up with a list like this:
  1. Provide excellent service to my existing customers
  2. Develop new products & services that my customers want
  3. Generate new leads for my business
  4. Convert more prospects into customers
  5. Develop and train employees
  6. Develop business systems and processes
  7. Strategic planning
  Then he or she could break up each one into more detailed responsibilities involved in each area.
  The point of this exercise is to help you see all thedifferent ways that you could be spending your time so you can recognize the most valuable ones.
  You can use this as a checklist to help you think of specific projects that you can work on right now that will make the most difference and will help you produce excellent results.

2) KNOW that you can't do everything
  When you first make a list like this, you might feel totally overwhelmed and feel that you can't possibly do it all... and you are right, you can't.
  The point of this exercise is not to make you feel that youhave even more things to do than you did before, but to help you find the BEST uses of your time right now.
  Since you can't do everything, you have to DECIDE what is most important for you to do right now. Which of these areas would make the most difference? Which ones do YOU need to spend yourtime on right now? Which ones do you need to delegate to your team?
  You then need to come up with specific, actionable projects that you can work on right now to make a difference... Not in allof these areas at once, in just a FEW of them. The most vitalones. The critical ones.
  Instead of trying to do it all, or spread yourself too thin over too many different things at once, select a FEW specific projects with clearly defined outcomes and focus most of yourtime on them for the next couple of weeks (or even months.)
  Then, as you make progress and complete some of these projects, you can slowly bring in some of the other areas that make sense.
  Just keep asking yourself "What is the most valuable use of my time right now?" and "What can I do right now that will make the most difference in my long-term results?"
  Use the list that you made in step 1 as your checklist as youask these questions and they will help you find the best projectsto work on right now.

3) MAKE time for these high-value projects
  Then you need to start making time for these few, vital,high-value projects that you've identified.
  Since you know that you can't do everything, you'll have tomake room for these important projects by NOT doing some otherthings that you might have done otherwise.
  What are you going to stop doing? What are you going to giveup? What are you going to delay or postpone to make room forthese important projects?
  One way to make time for your most important projects is to remember the story of the big rocks in the jar. You can make timefor your most important projects by putting them in your schedule first, and then allowing all the other busywork to fill the gaps.
  How much time do you need to spend on these high-valueprojects each week?
  Make a committed decision to spend at least 2 hours each day(preferably the first two hours) working on these high-value projects. Then add more hours as you can.

Have a great week!

Culled from "Goals to Action" Time Management by Rodger Constandse

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