Author: Sean Fletcher
Presentation: The Simple Plan
Take a look at our latest presentation on Slideshare regarding an effective time management strategy that I have used for many years. This approach has allowed me to achieve much, and work effectively with competing deadlines.
At its heart is the courage to make priorities and discard those things that you will never, ever do, but have on your list anyway.
The greatest challenge with any approach to making better use of your time will always be making time for your family and friends. The key then is to get those other areas in your life under control. This is how:
Step 1 – Make a list
Step 2 – Prioritise the items on the list (High, Medium, Low)
Step 3 – Remove the low priority items from the list
Step 4 – Plot the high priority items on your planner
Step 5 – Plot the medium priority items on your planner
With steps 4 and 5, you may need to break the activity up into manageable chunks. I find two or four hour blocks work well. In terms of a planner, I will leave it up to you. But one week at time works well. Spreading things out over a fortnight is extemely effective. With an electronic planner, your world is your oyster. This is because you can spread any task out for days, weeks and months ahead.
Practice Makes a Perfect
When it is all said and done, practice makes perfect. When I first considered this technique, it was a number of years before I put it into practice. In between times, my to do list worked just fine. Then, it took me a year or two to fully appreciate the best way to use it. The bottom line – I was able to do away with my to do list. Review your planner every day and each week. Make adjustments as your priorities change.
Oh, and as for emails – find the best time to deal with them. Pick, or dedicate a time when you look at them. Personally, I only look at emails no more than three times a day. In my previous role as a CEO in local government, I looked at them once a day at the same time each morning: 11:30 AM. One thing I can definitely say about emails: try not to review emails when you first get to work as this is counter productive.
Andrew Jensen gives some further great advice about emails here.
What to do next!
Go ahead and plan. You might just surprise yourself…