What do you do with your time?
One of the hardest things to do in a job is to get work done through other people. It’s even more difficult when you don’t have direct authority over the people assigned to complete a task. Without a system, you can find yourself becoming victim to interruptions, everyday work flow, and the priorities of others.
When we ask people why they are not as efficient as they could be, common answers are range from not having enough time, not being in control of assignments, having too many priorities, and having constant interruptions.
People say they don’t have enough time, yet they have all there is! No one is making more. The real question is this: What you do with the time you have?
- Do you have a set schedule? Do you work daily, weekly, monthly, or longer from a plan? Improving performance and results relies upon developing positive habits designed to drive those results.
- Are you communicating? Every working person has a boss. Even an owner has stakeholders, a corporate board, or their own ethics and integrity to answer to. Communication is key to effective time management. Establish guidelines and set priorities with your direct supervisor. Stop saying “yes” to everything if it’s only going to cause stress or delay something else.
- Are your goals and expectations clear? Multiple priorities can be negotiated. Timelines can be negotiated. If you physically don’t have time to complete a priority task or project, let those who will be affected know as soon as possible. It’s not easy to do, but it gives others the opportunity to reassign or help out if they can.
- Are you managing your interruptions? Learn to shut your door if you need private time. Develop a sense of focus if you can’t. Interruptions can be managed. Communicate to those frequent offenders and let them know the impact their behavior has on you. Schedule time away from a busy area if you need to concentrate on a project.
- Do you find yourself procrastinating? Procrastination is a symptom which develops into a habit. You need to review the reasons for procrastination and determine why it’s happening. Is it because you need more information? It is because the project bores you? If you don’t like a certain task, it helps to do that one at the time of day when you are the most productive.
Although there is no silver bullet – no immediate fix – taking small, incremental steps can go a long way to improving your productivity. You have to start somewhere…so start now!