Document 213577

Time Management:
How to Become a To-Do List Conqueror
by By Stacey Jerrold, Five O'Clock Club Career Coach
~"^^ o you always perform at your
• peak? Do you excel at giving
JLa.^ full attention to projects and
providing ample support to the people
in your life? Do you routinely finish
your work and leave your job at the end
of the day with a clean desk and an
agenda for the next day? If you have
answered Yes to all these questions, congratulate yourself and move on to the
next article.
However, if for any reason, you
answered No to any of these questions—or if you feel that your life is out
of control too much of the time—don't
despair! Time management is a skill you
can master. It can also be considered a
mindset, or even a lifestyle. It can be
mastered by anyone who wants:
^ to feel more in control
^ to attain more out of life
"> to achieve success in business while
having time to enjoy a personal life
4> to reduce stress and achieve more
balance in their lives
Your success depends, of course, on
utilizing a time management system that
works best for you. But you have to
start by addressing your attitudes, feelings and habits. What are your fundamental values and goals? Without this
foundation, any success you achieve
might be short-lived.
Time is the great equalizer.
We all have an equal
amount, but not all
use it effectively.
What Do We Mean by Time
Maybe the term is actually an oxymoron. There really isn't anything to
manage. There are a fixed number of
days in a week, hours in each day, minutes in each hour.
But our perception of time can
make a big difference. Some days
we are conquerors
and complete
everything on our
to-do list, and yet
other days we can
barely get through
the first few items
on the list. If you
look back on your
conquering days,
you very likely
will see that the
projects/tasks that
you completed
were directly related to your goals,
"Mr. Billings realizes you traveled a long
which added
way to meet with him. However, he decided
meaning to your
to change the meeting until next week."
tasks: you went
12 THE F I V E O ' C L O C K N E W S / M A R C H 2 0 1 0
into high gear
and time seemed
to speed by.
This is a
major clue about
becoming a conqueror of tasks
and projects.
When you are
able to define
your purpose,
establish your
values and vision, and develop a successoriented attitude, both direction and
meaning are more likely to emerge.
The best way to decide what you
want—and set goals accordingly—is to
have an understanding of yourself. The
Five O'Clock Club's primary tool for
doing this is the Seven Stories Exercise.
This enables you to carefully analyze
your outstanding accomplishments and
identify your strongest and most enjoyable skills.
Doing your Fifteen or Forty-Year
Vision helps you to give shape and
scope to what lies ahead. Your dreams
and goals from this exercise are the driving forces that motivate you.
When you have a clear vision, you
can move on to set specific goals, and it
might be helpful to keep the following
acronym to in mind when you formulate goals: WHY SMART. That is,
goals must be:
^ Written
^ Harmonious
+ Yours
+ Specific
4> Measurable
4> Attainable
^ Realistically high
^ Time-specific
Specific goals will enable you to prioritize options, and just the process of
writing them down can activate positive
thoughts. There is power in visualization; it can bring the necessary behaviors
that will help you to accomplish all that
you want in your life. Successful people
have a passion for what they do, and
usually have set goals that are harmonious with the vision they have created.
Do It; decide which category it
week, (3)
next week,
or (4) when
I have the
^ Delegate it
to the
^ Dump it;
dispose of it
in nearest
bin: get rid
of anything
that is not
in alignment with
your personal/pro"/ CAN go to lunch with you.
I just clutter up my desk with blank paper
so the boss thinks I'm busy."
And create a
filing system
•$• Provide a written agenda and
instead of a piling system.
include the purpose and objec3. Do the right thing right.
tives of the meeting.
Management expert Peter Drucker says,
<•* Start and end on time.
"Doing the right thing right (effective^ Have someone take notes and
ness) is more important than simply
send a summary with the action
doing things right (efficiency)"—no
items to attendees.
matter what the things are.
Determine the best way to share
4. Timing: determine your most
information communicated
effective time of day and take advantage
in the meetings.
of your body's natural clock to achieve
Strive for time management at
your tasks. Also decide the best time of
home to help maintain control, since
day to plan your day (for many people
our professional and personal lives are
the night before is the better option).
5. Refine your to-do list: break the
10. Learn to say No: taking on too
tasks into either must do it and should
much can be a major derailer and causdo it.
es stress.
6. Plan for interruptions and build
in buffer times that will allow you to
Time is the great equalizer. We all
get back on course. But try to minimize have the same amount, but the effective
interruptions: pay attention to caller ID
use of time is no accident.
and let some calls go to voicemail; post
Good time management is rooted
a Do Not Disturb sign on your office
in setting goals that are aligned with
door or cubicle wall.
your vision and purpose. Making it
7. Make the most of waiting time:
happen is a personal choice. *
it happens to all of us, and the odd five
Stacey M. Jerrold, Five O'clock Club
or ten minutes here and there can be
M.B.A., SPHR, is recognized as a
used to get things done.
the field of Human Resources.
8. Make your meetings as produc-
falls into (1) immediate, (2) this
tive as possible.
Do You Want to Spend or Invest?
When trying to come to terms with
time management, it is important to
acknowledge and understand the difference between spending time and investing time. The definition of spend,
according to the dictionary, is "to use
up, exhaust, consume." However, when
we invest our time, we do so with the
expectation of some sort of ROI, return
on investment. If we were to value time
the same way we value money, we
would probably be motivated to manage time better. We don't like to waste
money, and while we all say that we
don't like to waste time—it's hard to get
out of the habit.
The cliche is right: time is money!
You can expect returns if you invest in
it wisely—no matter what the current
economic situation. How you use your
time is a reflection of who you are. Not
only is it an indication of what you
think about yourself, it also reveals what
you think of others. Your real commitment to die goals you have set for yourself is reflected in your use of time.
How you invest your time mirrors
your purpose, your vision and your values. Each day set out to achieve the highest level of performance and gratification.
Fundamentals of Time Management
You'll go a long way in overcoming
die waste of time—and meeting your
goals—if you can master the following
ten concepts:
1. Get organized: set aside time to
organize all paper and projects; block
the time in your calendar or PDA.
2.Remember the three Ds when
something arrives at your desk:
She is known for "turning potential into
performance. "
MARCH 2010