Prioritization: the key to efficient time management

‘I don’t have time’. ‘I’m too busy’. ‘I’m doing other stuff’. ‘Maybe another time’. These are common phrases we hear on a daily basis in everyday life. If a member of the workforce claims they do not have time to attend the weekly team meeting, it’s not because they don’t have time, it’s because they don’t feel they get any value from those meetings.

If a manager says he doesn’t have time to complete performance evaluations, it’s not because he doesn’t have time, it’s because he doesn’t see the value in either the process, or in the benefits it would bring to his workforce.

If a CEO doesn’t think his team has time to attend a Leadership Development Program, it’s not because they don’t have time …….. it’s because that CEO doesn’t see the value in developing his number one asset – his people.

‘I don’t have time’ is nothing more than an excuse. Everybody has time to do anything they want to do. The question is: How badly do they want to do it?

The Ironman Triathlon: The Ironman Triathlon is one of the toughest endurance races in the world. Only 800,000 people from our global population have ever finished the 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike course, and 26.2 mile marathon run in the time limit of 17 hours. Training and preparing for an Ironman is at least a six-month buildup to race day. Many already-busy CEOs participate in the Ironman. So how do they manage to fit such a challenging training regime into what is likely a very hectic work schedule running their billion-dollar corporations? The answer is simple: they prioritize.

Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive: In Mark Sanborn’s presentation “Managing Time for Maximum Results”, he notes that everyone has the same amount of time – but it’s what is done with it that counts. One of the key points Sanborn makes is to block off time to get things done. Cut out distractions to ensure you have a goal in mind and it MUST be completed by a certain point or you will not move onto the next task. For the CEO Ironman, blocking off training time is an imperative component of their schedule.

Perfection is the Enemy of Good: Another key attribute of successful people is their ability to understand the level of excellence required to be executed. Jim Henig describes this as the “Perfectionist Principle”. Set a standard, get to it and move on. Successful people recognise the need not to dwell on accomplishing a level above and beyond the acceptable. They effectively prioritize the standard to which they will work.

Become an expert at prioritization by following these tips:

Prioritization Top Tips:

    1. Understand WHAT needs to be done and by WHEN.
    2. Recognise and record precisely how long tasks take in order to plan them into your schedule.
    3. Control distractions by sending a signal that you are fully focused on your tasks.
    4. Block off time in order to fully focus on your priorities.
    5. Give yourself a reward when your prioritized tasks are complete.
    6. Do not make excuses for not getting tasks completed. Everyone has the same amount of time available in their lives – it’s what you do with it that counts.