Positive Quote: “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” – Charles Bixton
Time; we all have it, we all want more of it, and we all wonder where did it go.
You can’t go into a bookstore or search on Amazon or actively look for a book on Time Management and not be inundated with the sheer volume. I mean, really, who has time to read all of those books. It does go to demonstrate that people are interested in ways to stretch out the minutes in the day to accomplish more.
I have a few favorite books that helped me get more focused on time and my ability to control only what I am doing. I wouldn’t call them Time Management books per se, yet they did help me get my time under control. I would definitely recommend them as a good and fast reads.
- Eat that Frog! – by Brian Tacy
- The One Minute Manager and the Monkey – by Ken Blanchard
- Death by Meeting – by Patrick Lencioni
We are challenged every day to do more with less, to find ways to optimize our time and productivity, to streamline and become more efficient. I personally don’t think there is a one size fits all approach to organization or time management. I think what works for me may not work for everyone. That we each need to find the things that work for us, like a buffet line, we take what looks good and what works and add it to our plate of tips and techniques.
A few of my personal methods are:
- I color code my emails. I use rules that I emails come from certain people they are highlighted in different colors. That way, when I look at my email, I know which ones to focus on first. Then I sort the rest by subject to read the latest email thread versus chronologically, especially if people have been replying to all. When I touch an email, I decide in a few seconds whether to a) file for future reading (I set aside time each week to read and catch up and block this on my calendar) or b) delegate or forward to the right person who can handle the topic/issue or c) if it is a quick item, I respond immediately and move the email out of my inbox or d) if it is more complex or requires action on my part I move the email to a folder I call ‘Action Needed’ and I block time on my calendar to work on it referencing the email date and timestamp. This helps me keep my inbox clean (under 10 emails) and I know that I can prioritize those items that need my attention more accurately.
- I have a folder on my email called ‘Print Me’. Anything I need to print out to read, file, review, etc… I place in this folder and 3 times a day I send it to the printer (locked print of course). This reduces the time and frequency of me getting up and going to the printer 10-20 times a day.
- I keep a high level to-do list. On it are the items (in priority order) that I need to accomplish in the day or week. I ‘eat the frog’ and when my mind is clear and productive (mornings are my best time, while after lunch for an hour I do non-strategic things) those are the items I tackle first. By tackling the ‘harder’ items first, the remainder is not as difficult and I am able to work on the things that make a bigger impact and in most cases, are more critical. These lists gives me flexibility to handle those one-off fires that inevitably come in each day where I have to juggle things to get the fire put out and hopefully implement something that prevents it from catching fire in the future. Sustainability is key.
- I am a visual person, I have a list of projects/tasks that are on my plate, and so at a glance I can trigger thoughts and know if in accepting a new project will conflict with something or can be accommodated. I also am aware of what is on my plate, at a high level.
As you can tell, this quote speaks out to me in a shout versus a whisper.
What do you think of this quote and what are some techniques you use to help make the most of time?
Have a great day.