Time Management for MVPs

Time management is always a hot topic.

Find out how to select your MVPs of time management to elevate your productivity game.

You can’t put more time into your life, but you can put more life into your time. We all have the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds every day, but some people are able to accomplish more with their time than others. What is their secret?

At the core of time management is the fact that it’s not so much about how much time you have, but how you use it. Recent studies have debunked multitasking myths and time managers uniformly agree that focused attention wins the productivity title every time.

MVP activities improve your time management game by helping you and your team prioritize and focus on those activities that are most valuable and profitable to your organization. Anything else is merely a distraction.

MVP = Most Valuable and Profitable activities

List your MVP activities

You probably do about 173 things every day. The problem is that 165 of them don’t count. Make a list of 6 to 8 activities that are the most valuable and profitable to your department or organization. Just 6 to 8 activities that give you the biggest return on your investment of time and expertise.

Don’t expect to come to this number right away. It took me about two weeks to narrow my list down initially. Now, a little over one year later, I’m down to four. Now, I’m able to say to my executive assistant: these are the 4 things that allow me to create the most contribution to my business. Your job is to help keep me focused on spending the majority of my time on these activities.

Prioritize your MVP activities

Once you have identified your list of MVPs, the next step is to make sure you spend 60 to 80% of your time every day doing them. This is not easy!

Motivational speakers and time management coaches may recommend you spend 100% of your time on these activities. So why don’t I? Well, because I live in the real world just like you do. Things happen — crises, interruptions, urgencies, emergencies.

We do not completely control our time. This gives you the flexibility to spend 20 to 40% of your time dealing with the distractions and interruptions you can’t avoid or ignore. When you get to the point where you are spending 60 to 80% of every day on your top MVP activities, you will be astounded at the results you will be able to produce!

Get your team focused

Your team is, of course, a huge asset to your productivity. It’s one thing to manage your time by getting yourself focused on your MVPs, but multiplying this principle across your team will produce even greater productivity.

Ask each member on your team to make a list in rank order of their 10 MVP activities. Simply ask them to think, of all the things they do, what are the 10 things, 1 being most important and 10 being least important, that they believe they are paid to do. At the same time, you will create this list for each of your employees from your perspective.

After both lists are created, schedule a time to sit down and go over each other’s lists. The outcome of this meeting is to create a shared list to make sure that the number 1 on their list is the number 1 on your list. Because, frankly, you’re going to find that some people have items on their list that you haven’t put on your list for them. And, perhaps, in some cases, they have things on their list that you did not know about or did not know how important that item was.

In other words, you’re not playing from the same playbook. As the leader, you’re the coach. You have to make sure that everyone isn’t just playing their position well, you have to make sure that they are playing the game in a coordinated effort to win. This pays off handsomely for performance reviews, coaching, and feedback sessions. Not only are you now focused, but you have a high level of certainty that the people on your team are focused as well.

The objective of focusing on your and your team’s MVP activities is to go from a focus on input to a focus on output. The reality is that activity is the anesthesia of ineffective leadership. We stay very busy all day long. We go home at the end of the day and we’re exhausted but we often don’t consider that we’ve accomplished very little.

One of the great paradoxes is that to the degree we become focused we can actually do less and accomplish more because we’re focusing on what produces results, not just on what produces activity.