Positive Quote: “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” – Peter F. Drucker
You can throw a pebble in a bookstore in the business section and hit a wide number of books around time management. We all want to manage our time so we have time for the important things, the strategic things, and the things that will move the needle in a positive way.
What works for one person doesn’t work for another, yet there can be common threads on time management.
I think that is why I like this quote; it reminds me that being busy for busy sake is not managing my time. In fact it can hinder me from managing other areas and devoting the ‘right’ amount of time to critical areas.
I know I can always learn something new that may help me manage my time more efficiently. Perhaps some will share their ideas on what works for them. I’ll list out a few things that work for me.
- I have a folder on my email called ‘Print Me’ where I move items from my inbox and file them there and about every 1 ½ hours I mass print everything. This saves me time going back and forth to the printer and I can bulk things together for filing later.
- I block time on my calendar. If for instance I leave at 4 pm, I will block from 3:30 pm on. This enables me to have some wrap up time and close out my thoughts for the day. It helps me also look back and see what I need to focus on in the morning. I also use this time for filing any items that I printed and want to retain.
- I manage my email. If something comes in that requires me to take action of some kind, be it research, review, or approval…I move it to a folder on my email called ‘Action Needed’ and (this is the important part) and I add an appointment to my calendar to block off time to work on it. Once that time comes and I get an email reminder to work on it, I do and then respond accordingly and move the email out of the folder to its correct area.
- I read the book by Ken Blanchard ‘The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey’ many years ago and it stuck with me. I would recommend it as a quick read. At a high level, the concept is that as a manager/leader you can be a road block to empowering your people and work hard yet, not have time for the things you should be working on. Each item you take and say ‘let me follow up on that’ or ‘I’ll get back to you’ is like a monkey jumping off their shoulders and on to yours. Now you get weighed down with monkeys. I work to keep the monkeys to a minimum.
- I block out the first hour of my day for planning. I look at what I did not accomplish the day before and what I need to focus on based on criticality, importance and due date. I may not get to everything, yet I need to be aware of what I need to work on. Administrivia typically is lower on my radar for batching.
- If I schedule meetings, I default to an hour time slot. If I think a meeting may take a half hour, I still book an hour. I do this for about 80% of the meetings I schedule. For those where the attendees have a super busy calendar, I squeeze in where I can. By booking an hour, it gives me ‘flex time’, this is the time where a meeting ends and I have 20 minutes before the next meeting and can fit in smaller tasks; like returning a phone call, answering a quick email, scheduling meetings, or stepping away from my desk to clear my head.
What do you think of this quote?
Are there things you do that work for you to manage your time?
Have a marvelous Tuesday.