13 January, 2009

Some Keys to Time Management

The secret to time management isn't more time management tools at all. Here are few keys I have found:
• Manage energy not time.
• Make room for your big rocks.
• Use anticipation to drive versus reacts.

I often here the argument, "if I had more time for this or that, I could ..." Well, unfortunately, having more time doesn't always mean getting more done. It doesn't guarantee getting the right things done either. Sometimes I get more done in an hour than I can sometimes get done in a week. Why is that? For me, it's actually about energy. There are only so many hours in a day. While I can't make more hours in a day, I can use my energy better. Sure there's lots of interesting little time savers, but there's plenty of time wasters too. I find the force that makes the most measurable difference is the energy and engagement I bring to the table.

Assuming I have all my energy ready to tackle my day, I need to distinguish between urgent and important. If I'm only reacting to urgent, then I'm missing out on opportunity to deal with important, whether that's job impact or personal growth. The moral of the story is, if I don't make time for the big rocks, the fillers in my day won't leave room. I like Steven Covey's perspective on urgent vs. important in his First Thing's First book. Here's a nice summary of the popular Make Room for the Big Rocks story.

Anticipation is actually a skill that I haven't worked. It is interesting how many habitual things happen each year that takes me by surprise -Birthdays, Holidays, festivals, Reviews, Events, etc…

I have seen the system of me reacting to events I don't anticipate. While the friends expect the unexpected, I also find that with a little anticipation, a stitch in time saves nine. If I make some plans, and there is a major event I didn't account for, I should not be surprised when suddenly nobody around. At the same time, I am sure I can find a way to influence the sudden surge of energy some individuals have right after a discussion.

C Radhakrishnan