The first time I presented a workshop on managing time was more than 30 years ago. The basic principles remain immutable: know your goals, identify the work that has to be done to achieve your objectives, prioritize the tasks and activities, then implement the plan on a daily basis (the really hard part). The basic tools and techniques also remain the same from creating an annual plan, to creating the daily “to do” list, to keeping a time log to identify time use patterns and time wasters. So, how does a time management “expert” have a major “Aha! moment”?
A few weeks ago, I was asked to sit in on a time management course taught by a colleague in order to assess it. I moved through the program day with my mind set on being a learner, not a trainer. It seems counterintuitive to look backwards when planning, but the time log is a solid assessment tool. For years I have prioritized time logs during especially busy periods to identify places to streamline. The priority quadrants on my form are labeled “must do,” “should do,” “would like to do,” and “don’t need to do.” My colleague’s form quadrants were similar, but the “would like to do” quadrant was labeled “distractions.”
When I perused the list I had created under that title – all items related to my own personal needs, professional development, creativity in work, building of collegial relationships, and health – named as “distractions,” I was stunned. The “Aha!” was the realization that these “me” items deserve more than third place. When one is feeling well, confident, connected, and refreshed, one is much more productive and better able to handle the planning and implementation that make a good time manager.
That’s all for this blog… I need to spend some time on those newly promoted priorities.