How To Be Totally Inefficient:
What Not to Do if You Truly Want to Stop Stalling & Gear Up for Business Success
It’s time for another one of my “what not do to” commentaries. This one was written as a result of reading a one-page synopsis called “Improving Time Management” drawn from a book about effective leadership and used for a presentation I had attended some time ago. I had to share my views on several points here that stood out to me as inefficient and outdated.
Here’s the advice I really don’t want you to follow!
1. Write a list of tomorrow’s action items
Really? You’re still writing a list every single day? On paper? If that’s true, you are SO not working at your most efficient pace. Not by a long shot.
When you use an electronic task list, like the one in Outlook, you don’t have to write a to-do list every day. Ever again. Really. Once you’ve invested your time in building it initially by typing in your inventory of tasks, all you need to do is add to it, delete from it and change it a little at a time and reprioritize regularly, which doesn’t require any writing or rewriting and is so quick and easy you’ll wonder why didn’t do this sooner.
Building an e-Task list and prioritizing continuously gives you a reliable way to drive your day and allows you to have total awareness of everything you’re committed to without writing, scribbling, scratching out, rewriting, losing track… you get my point.
2. Allocate a set time for each task
Wow. If you put all your tasks on your calendar, you won’t have room for all your tasks and many will get left out. And you might drive yourself a little crazy trying to set times for all those tasks. Most people have dozens of tasks that are scheduled out for days, weeks and months and with the ever-changing nature of your day you’re going to be wasting lots of time rearranging all that on your calendar… if you even remember to go back and move things around if something gets missed.
Many tasks take between 2 and 20 minutes to do, so your calendar would look pretty funny with all of that on there. Plus, a calendar is for appointments, meetings and other scheduled
obligations, but it’s NOT for tasks. Only those tasks requiring 30 minutes or more of your uninterrupted, focused time should be on your calendar and that’s only if you have trouble fitting everything into your day.
3. Focus on managing your time, not managing your tasks
Not really. This is only half true in my opinion. The truth is that this is a combo-platter. You do need to manage your tasks within the time you protect.
The only way for you to stay in the driver’s seat of your day is to get a grip on all of your tasks and commitments, prioritize them and then keep time protected on your calendar for actually working your task list. You can also set aside time for processing e-mail or working on special projects and the rest of the day can be available for meetings, fielding interruptions, handling phone calls and doing the other day-to-day tasks that don’t require heavy-duty concentration.
But it’s true, you have to protect some time in your day – every day – just for you! But within that time, you will absolutely manage your tasks by keeping track of them, prioritizing them and making sure you’re doing the right things at the right time.