The first thing to know about time management is you can’t manage time.
(Well that kinda blows that apart.)
Time comes, it goes. It is a constant.
You can’t ‘save’ time either.
Time is the ultimate ‘use it, or lose it’.
We all have the same twenty-four hours everyday. Some people are just better at using their time than others.
Good time management is good self management. People who use their time well take time to set priorities, create a simple plan and then design an action list to achieve them.
Here is a simple system that I recommend to time crunched program directors.
First, think in terms of a week and do all your planning on a weekly basis.
Pick a regular time for your planning. Sunday morning works best for me.
Write down everything you have to achieve during the week. Include both work and personal items. Remember, your work and private life are connected.
Review the list and rank all of the items in order of priority.
Once you’ve outlined the priorities schedule time into your calender to work on each one. Again looking at the week as a whole.
Make sure you schedule important things into your calender like thinking, writing and LISTENING to your station. We are pulled in a dozen directions and don’t think of these things as priorities.
Managers don’t have to do all of the things on their list. Their job is to see the work gets done. Think about delegating tasks and projects to your staff.
Tony Robbins teaches that instead of having a long ‘to do’ list, you create a list of clearly defined ‘outcomes’ for the week. Under this system, you can often complete your objective without doing every task on your list.
He likes to chunk connected items to make one outcome. Robbins’ system is a very strategic approach. Changing from a long list of tasks, to outcome thinking can take you from having a hundred items to do, to ten that week. It is very powerful.
David Allen who wrote “Getting Things Done” uses a completely different system. He looks at anything with two or more tasks as project. Allen’s method is to keep you focused on the ‘next action’ in each one. It too is quite powerful.
Allen’s company offers an excellent add on to Outlook which helps you stay on track.
Achieve Planner is another excellent software. I like the power of creating full projects and it has a ‘next action’ feature. Rodger Constandse has included all kinds of great tips to help you with productivity. Their site is listed to the right of this page.
David Allen’s software and Achieve Planner offer free 30 day trial periods.
There are many other good systems. I used Franklin/Covey for years. They have paper and electronic planners.
Any system is better than no system. Many people combine the best of them to create their own personalized way of staying focused.
The best program directors take the time to focus on their priorities and set a plan to achieve them.