Time management doesn’t really make sense because you can’t manage time. It’s not about how much you get done in a particular block of time it’s about getting the results you need from that time. When you focus a certain amount of time to a certain task you can spend that time focusing completely on that certain task and you don’t have to be thinking that you should be working on something else. If you set aside a two hour period to accomplish a certain task and that task is completed then you focused your time wisely and use good time management. Decide what results you need from a certain time period, determine your focus for that time and practice focusing on the current task and working toward the desire result.
I’m not a big fan of time management, because I know you can’t really manage time. You can arrange it, sort of. You can arrange your tasks within blocks of time, certainly.
But I read something interesting recently about time management for people who get paid by the hour. One would think these employees wouldn’t be as interested in time management; after all, they’re getting paid for every hour. But of course they want to justify their hours, and get as much done as possible.
This article put an emphasis on focus and results in time management. This is an approach I can really identify with. It’s not about how much you get done in a particular block of time. It’s about getting the results you need from that time.
Let’s look at focus. One thing I really love about blocking out all my work on a calendar, rather than just a to-do list, is that I know that each particular block of time is dedicated to a specific project or task. I can clearly see, for instance, that for the block of time right after lunch I’m going to be writing blog entries.
That means I can use that time effectively to write blog entries without thinking I “should” be working on generating new leads, or whatever. If I start getting distracted I can simply remind myself, “This is my blogging time. I’m blogging now, I’ll do that later.”
Focusing in this way helps me get the most out of the time I spend on each project. It helps me concentrate on getting that project done and keeps me from getting so distracted. Knowing exactly what I’m working on and for how long helps me say to my brain, “Thank you for the reminder, but we’re working on blog entries right now. We’ll be doing lead generation at 3:30.”
That brings me to results. Let’s say I’ve blocked off two hours after lunch to write blog posts for the next day. My goal, then, is to produce at least two blog posts in that two-hour period. How do I measure that? This is really simple to measure, though some projects may be harder. For this one, I’ve gotten the desired results if I have two blog entries I’m happy with.
This is not the way I learned time management. Maybe I learned it wrong, but the lesson I took from time management seminars was how to get the most “stuff” done in the least time. That may work for some people, but for me, I need to know how to get particular things done, and done well, and how to get them done in a time frame that works for me.
Focus and results seem to be the answers to effective time management. I can definitely work within these two parameters to get the right things done without spending more time than I want or need to.
How can you use focus and results to manage your time more effectively?
- Decide what results you need from a particular time period.
- Determine your focus for that time period.
- Practice focusing on the current task and working toward the desired results.
Thanks to E3 Success blog for including this post in the Carnival of Success Principles, and to More Than We Know for recommending this post.