In my coaching practice, I spend considerable time helping people to become more effective in their daily activities – specifically in managing time. For those who are seeking to achieve their goals and be successful, time management is critical.
I have covered some of these points before, but their importance demands repeating here:
1. Three priorities for each day. Pick the three most important things for you to do today, then do them. Once they are done, feel free to ramble aimlessly on other tasks, or take the rest of the day off, but despite everything else get your top three completed first.
2. Priorities first, everything else second. I have several coaching clients who are good at completing item #1 above, but let meetings and other issues creep into their schedule, impacting their ability to complete their top three. If how your time is spent is often beyond your control (i.e. meetings, telephone calls, etc), then start your day 1 hour earlier. Go to the office 1 hour earlier, don’t check emails or voice mails, but complete your top three items. Then let the day have it’s way with you.
3. If it’s important, write it down! Whether it is your top three for the day, or other important meetings or notes – write them down! I have a client who writes their top strategic goals on several sticky notes each January, and then places the notes in full view (i.e. behind their laptop on the wall). Consciously or sub-consciously this keeps their annual priorities in full view at all times, and guess what – he achieves his goals every year!
4. Hold yourself accountable. If you write down your top three items, and the end of day comes and you have yet to complete them, guess what? You stay at work until they are done! Now, I am not suggesting you start work earlier and work later just to achieve your top three, but the reality is if you plan 3 tasks for each day, that are achievable within the time constraints of your day, then you need to get them done. Stay late a couple of nights to complete them and I can guarantee you will start completing them earlier in the day!
5. Reward your accomplishments. One of my mentors often speaks to how she doesn’t allow herself a morning coffee until her top priorities are complete. For me, I won’t allow myself the time to read the newspaper or start any new tasks. Whatever your motivator is, once you get your three priority tasks completed, provide yourself some sort of reward that makes you feel good.
© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.