Legends are not made by luck
If you look at any successful entrepreneur, business man / woman or even sports star, you can be guaranteed that they did not get to where they are from pure chance or luck. It’s up to us to make our own luck, in order to be successful at what you do you must work hard, but more importantly, you must work effectively.
We recently had Vibe Training come in for a Time Management workshop with our members to help us all improve on our time management skills and increase our productivity. Below are a few key takeaways along with additional words of wisdom from other experts in this field.
Planning makes you feel better
There are countless benefits to incorporating more structure into our daily lives, one of which is the proven positive correlation planning has with your perceived control over time. This perception of control is crucial to whether time management has a positive impact or not. Therefore, planning your day, week or next few hours will in itself, have a positive cognitive impact.
1. Outline Your Key Priorities
When looking at your key priorities, it’s important to clearly identify all of your core job functions and main responsibilities. A tip from Vibe Training was to put pen to paper for this and make your priorities visual, then hang this up at your desk or workspace so they are always at the front of your mind.
It can be very easy to continuously prioritise some areas over others without realising you’re doing so. If you have a clear mindset and a visual in front of you, you can ensure you are working as efficiently as possible at all times.
2. Minimise Interruptions
In the modern workforce, some things look like they are priorities but aren’t. One of the biggest mistakes professionals often make is to use their time focused on activities that simply no longer deserve their attention – emails being an obvious example.
A real tell-tale sign of someone who isn’t working in an efficient manner, is if you continuously receive prompt responses to your emails. This indicates that this individual is easily distracted and jumps from one task to another as soon as a new notification comes in. The effect of this tyranny leaves you distracted and constantly expecting to be interrupted. Who can work like that? Set your own rules for email and be consistent with it, your colleagues will get used to it and respect it.
If your manager is prone to interrupting you with questions, Jason Womack suggests preempting him or her. For example, instead of waiting for your manager to show up at your desk or ping you, approach them first at a few minutes before the hour, say for example 09:55 AM, ideally before a meeting or call. Explain that you have a busy schedule for the day and that you’re trying to get any interruptions out of the way. Then simply ask if there is anything they need from you before you get stuck into your work and as a result, you should be able to get all of your interruptions out of the way in one swoop.
3. Plan by Week First
Whilst it’s tempting to simply organise your day when starting work, try to get out of that habit. The most effective way to start your week is to spend your Monday morning (or even better, your Friday afternoon), by putting 15 minutes aside to plan out your week. What do you have on? What are the most important tasks in your workflow that week? Will you be covering all of your key responsibilities?
Spreadsheets or online tools such as Trello are great for this, keep it visual and easily accessible.
We all have that one colleague who has copious amounts of post-its plastered across their computer and desk – but according to Vibe Training, this is a big no-no! The more chaotic your system is, the more chaotic your mind will be. Keep it simple, clean and concise. Once you have your main priorities for the week outlined, simply re-organise them into order starting with the most important and grouping any where possible.
4. Plan Tomorrow Today
Just like getting into a habit with your weekly plans, you should do the same with your daily. And instead of only thinking this through at the beginning of each day, why not get this planned out at the end of each afternoon looking ahead to the following morning? Take 5-10 minutes each evening before you head home to do this and you’ll feel a lot less stressed coming into work the next day – you’ll have your plan in place, prioritised and all laid out for you when you arrive.
5. Learn to say no
None of us has infinite time, and high achievers learn early (if sometimes painfully) that getting important things done means saying no… a lot. Renée Warren, CEO of The Family Academy, captured it perfectly when she reflected back on learning this valuable lesson: “It took me years to finally start saying no to things that would take me away from what really needed my attention. Time is the most valuable thing you have. Make sure you invest it wisely.” Time truly is one of our most valuable assets, if we don’t take advantage of it, we’ll never reap the rewards.
So what are you waiting for? Start taking advantage of your time today.