When I interview successful business people who are at the apex of their careers, the one thing they all wish they had more of, is time.
Time is the great equalizer.
Then why is it some people can get twice as much done in half the time, and others are lagging behind always stressed and sounding like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland saying, "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date".
Yes, there are secrets for how to manage the seconds, minutes and hours that make up the twenty-four we all get each and every day.
First, you need a strong dose of determination to stamp out the procrastination that shows up for just about everyone in one shape or another. Do you start with the easiest tasks to get them out-of-the-way and then feel the need to sprint to get the more important projects finished? Or do you take the hardest one and suddenly it's time for sleep, and all the little "to-do's" stay trapped in the long list of forgotten items until that "oh crap" moment, when they finally get the long overdue attention.
Here are some of the ways to get past time anguish
I recently interviewed a man ready to start his third new company. He has lots of money now and could relax and coast. I wondered why he was putting so much effort into another new business. He said he is an adrenaline junky, for one, and then he gave me the clue to great business success.
"Learning how to play the game of time management" he said was his biggest failure in the first company and the biggest success in his second company.
Here are the 5 best ways to get time to be your servant and not your master:
- Time boxing: Divide schedules into separate time periods, called time boxes. Each has its own deliverable deadline and budget. In this way you can keep your eyes on the clock. The increased pressure is actually good for you. It leads to better task focus. You can learn more at www.timeboxing.com
- Pomodoro Technique: This is even better. Once you have the basics of time boxing under you go to this method, which is based on having 25 minute time boxes of focused concentration separated by a 10 minute break to allow your mind to recover and be ready for more intense thinking. You start a timer (you can get one shaped as a tomato--Pomodoro in Italian) at the beginning of each focused work time. And in just setting the timer you are already showing your determination to follow through. It works. Go to www.pomodoromethod.com
- Tickler file: Data labeled file folders that are organized as an up-dated electronic to-do list. It is good to keep your memory sharp in this day of data overkill. This will help you accelerate your workplace flow and keep you from suffering information overload. Think of it as a memory tickler. Check out Merlin Mann's website www.43folders.com
- GTD Method: Thanks to Dave Allen's book, Getting Things Done, you have just about the most complete guide to making time work quickly and easily. His themes are to capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage. First you record what you have to do and break down to actionable work items. His whole system is clear and concise and his book has been a winner for years and years. Find at http://gettingthingsdone.com/.
- JOS Pattern Breaker: The hypothesis is that in business we are here to solve problems and that is good. However, once the same problem keeps occurring time after time it is now a pattern. This is where lots of time and aggravation show up. Patterns keep repeating because of outdated assumptions. The OUT technique is meant to help you find easy to be more effective ways and get to the heart of the pattern repetition. Check out www.ceoptions.com for more information about pattern transformation.
The more you begin to look at time as an ally the more effective you can be. Capture time and capture success.