Profits are king. When running your small business you see costs everywhere. They are obvious in your space and equipment. In your supplies and utilities. Many of these costs are fixed over the short term. There is nothing you can do to reduce them and maintain your business presence. And other costs including materials, packaging, and shipping are purely variable. You only incur these costs when you are sending out an order.
This Matrix is a simple way of helping yourself to choose which activities, tasks or projects to prioritize if you wish to make the most of your time and opportunities. You can also “see’ clearly which ones you will need to drop. After all, you are the “manager of your time” and you can incorporate the tool to choose activities intelligently. The alternative is involving you in activities that could be low-yield and very time consuming.
For all of us that have spent money and time on Time Management techniques, articles, blogs, webinars… the list is endless, I have this epiphany to share with you: Time management is a myth. Given that the day having only 24 hours, we can only manage ourselves within the timeframe given.
Experimenting with different tactics to find the best way to maximize the use of time brings to mind Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. Ike based his oval office decisions on the following: “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” He could not have been more right.
Let’s take a closer look at this concept, the Eisenhower Matrix. This method was made popular by Stephen Covey in his book “First Things First.” With the limitations on available time, the path to perfection is prioritization. When confronted with the scores of tasks to be done each day, two questions separate the items on the to-do list: First, is the task important? Second, is it urgent?
According to OfficeTime’s most recent survey, 47% named e-mail as the biggest time killer. As a matter of fact, of those polled by OfficeTime, 40% admitted they spend an average of 1-3 hours a day dealing with email.
Is Multitasking the Enemy of Productivity & What does it do to Time Management?It will come as a surprise to most of us to find out that only 2 percent of the work force can multitask effectively. If that is true, then 98 percent of us, who try to multitask almost every moment of every day, actually impair our productivity rather than help it – and what does that do to our time management???.
There are many ways to improve productivity, and they all start from a simple analysis of “Times Tracked”. For example, to an individual, productivity will be measured by how much he or she accomplished – not how busy they were. A Time Tracking Analysis could provide information on the importance of the tasks accomplished and answer the question if any of the tasks could have been delegated. The analysis will provide us with additional information on non-productive times which decrease productivity.
The analyzed and timed activities will highlight key elements of possible improvement. The analysis will provide t
Step 1. Summarize all tasks that compose your weekly to-do list. This will give you the ability to prioritize according to deadlines and importance. Then split your workload into chunks of time. Write the central idea for the specific day. Can you now specify a few main branches for the key tasks that you need to accomplish? Give those a title and arrange them as sub categories of the central idea. Under these sub categories list all the events, tasks, sub-tasks, deadlines, actions, etc. that are needed to complete each of the sub categories individually.
Step 2. Prioritize. You now have an educated view to decide what is important and what is not, objectively. Having clarity about how everything fits together will increase your productivity. You will be able to “find” those extra hours on your weekly schedule. If you created your summary correctly, you will be organized, calm and clear to tackle the main category of each day.
You will notice that there are only FOUR top time wasters here. We’d love to hear what YOUR #1 time waster was for 2012. Share it here and give us your contact information, and maybe we’ll feature you in our blog next month! Time Management is one of the MOST important wins for OfficeTime and our time tracking solution – knowing what stands in your way helps us to serve you better.
Time Management Tip: Be smart in how you communicate. I’m not saying to be unfriendly at all, but I try not to create open ended “chatty” conversations by email (or even in life). Getting sucked into a 20-minute “How’s it going” can mean 20 minutes less with my little girl at the end of the day. So, limit your use of questions when you’re short on time. Instead of “How are you this morning,” try the equally friendly comment: “It is so nice to see you today!” This will stop email back and forth in its tracks.