How do you know if your Time Management System is Working for you?
Your time management and productivity are results- oriented. Aspects of it are either working or they are not. You can tell if it is working because you know that:
- you get things done before or by their deadline,
- you are feeling in control of your workload, and
- you observe that others know that they can rely on you to do what you say you are going to do ON TIME.
How we think about time affects how we use it. Are you always complaining, “I don’t have enough time.” We all have the same amount of time in a day. Are your thoughts ready for a reality check? Let’s look at the choices that you are making with your time.
Your thoughts about time and time management are reflected in how you behave, or act upon what you do throughout the day. When you think that time is scarce you might tend to be impulsive, do things last minute and feel rushed, or avoid getting things done.
Finally, how we behave in terms of time affects how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. Do you struggle with feelings of incompetence, or productivity? Are you concerned that others cannot rely on you and that your personal and work relationships are being compromised by poor time management? If your time management isn’t working for you and you lack a system it’s time for that reality check and a time management system.
Time Management and Thinking
Let’s debunk the myth that you don’t have enough time. Time is like space in the sense that both have their limits. Just like a space – a surface or container – can hold only so much, your day can only hold so much. If we all agree that there are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, then we can agree that there is a limit on how much can be done in that “container” of time. I’ve heard clients claim, “I only need 3 hours of sleep.”, and yet their productivity suffers. I’ve heard, “I work better under pressure.”, and I ask, “How do you know? Have you tried planning and scheduling?” These types of distorted thoughts need to be checked, and like the wise Dr. Phil asks, “How’s that working for you?”
Here are 4 time management strategies to get you started:
- Start by purging anything that takes time that doesn’t need to get done. Look at things that need to get done, but others can do.
- Identify those tasks and match them with others who can and want to do them, then pass it on.
- Larger tasks can be broken into smaller ones. Work backwards from the deadline and schedule portions of the project; give yourself the time to do quality work.
- Use your schedule to block off time for truly urgent tasks and postpone less urgent tasks that you will schedule at another time.
Time Management Personality Profiles
The “Planner Personality” Profile sees the end goal and the steps needed to get there. The Planner Personality utilizes scheduling to create blocks of time to work on each of the steps, working backwards from the deadline. The Planner Personality Profile is able to work with others and delegate in order to get things done in a timely fashion.
The “Procrastinator Personality” Profile tends to put things off and lack a sense of priorities. This personality profile is one of avoidance and sometimes spends time doing things that are less urgent, important, and/or difficult. The Procrastinator Profile will suffer consequences such as missed deadlines, missed steps or errors in the product because it was rushed, and sometimes the emotional stress from negative self talk or poor credibility with others.
- The “Perfectionist Personality” Profile falls into one of 2 general types: not enough time, or it’s never done. The first type, has difficulty starting a task or project because of the perception that a longer block of time is required to do it “right”. It’s another type of avoidance or procrastination.
The second type of Perfectionist Personality Profile is characterized by the thought that things are never done because they still need revision, tweaking, and can be better. Consequently, this behavior causes projects to be late, deadlines missed, extensions requested, and may create a perception that this person is not reliable.
Ask yourself questions about your thoughts about time and the consequences of those thoughts and behaviors:
- Do I have a balanced schedule? Do I get enough sleep on a nightly basis? Do I have time for myself, my family and friends, and my work?
- Am I always or usually on time for meetings, appointments, and project deadlines? If you are typically late, do you often pay late fees? Upset others or lose friends? Not get promoted?
- Are there other consequences or negative results from a lack of having an effective time management system? These might include lack of exercise, poor nutrition, weight gain or loss, relationship issues and others.
There is no shame in asking for help, in fact, you are empowering yourself and taking control of your life. A Time Management Coach or Professional Organizer who is specifically trained in time management can help you achieve the results that you want and deserve. Don’t procrastinate!