Time management tools are essential for you to get the most out of your day. Yet most tools focus on efficiency – packing in as much as possible. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” teaches us that this is not the best way to manage time. To truly make best use of your time you need to be more effective – doing more of the right things.
The most common time management tools are to-do lists, calendars and daily planners. All of these tool are helpful in enabling us to fit in as many things as possible during the day.
Simple to-do lists are useful aids to making sure that everything gets done. A more sophisticated version is to link a to-do list to your goals and to prioritise what you’re going to be doing for the day.
Calendars and appointment books tell us what we should be doing in the future so that we don’t forget it. However they don’t provide much more insight than that.
All of these tools are good at reminding us what we should be doing, however they all lack one essential ingredient – they don’t tell what the right things to do are.
The Key to Effectiveness - Doing the Right Things
Leaders are people who do the right things rather than doing things right. If you are to take control of your life and be more successful you need to be more effective, you need to learn to lead.
The first step is to identify what your goals are for all the areas of your life, not just your work, but also your family life, your personal development and your community life. You can then ensure that you are working on all the aspects of your life in harmony.
You need to go beyond daily planning and start planning a whole week. During one day it is quite possible that you may only focus on one or two parts of your life – you go to work and you come home and spend some time with your family. Over the course of a whole week, it is highly likely that you can touch on all areas of your life. Planning the whole week enables you to ensure that you plan all aspects of your life.
You need to have a clear statement of all your goals – your long term vision and mission for your life, your medium and short term goals for all areas of your life. As you are planning your time you should examine each of your goals and take the appropriate action.
Understand that as you will need to deal with people, you will have to allow some flexibility in your schedule. You can plan sequences of events that are entirely under your control efficiently, but people will require a flexible approach if you are to deal with them effectively.
As you develop your schedule for the week, ensure that all the major tasks that you want to complete are included. Allow time for flexibility.
Once you have your weekly schedule you can start working it. The key now is to have a plan for the day, with a clear idea of what you are going to achieve but be prepared to adapt your plan as unforeseen circumstances crop up.
Traditional time management encourages you to plan one day at a time, filling each day with a list of things to do. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People points out that this may enable you to make efficient use of your time, but not effective use of your time.
To plan effectively you need to expand your horizons to cover the whole of your life and to plan a whole week at a time.
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Kevin John has spent many years helping businesses owners, aspiring business owners, and private individuals to develop the understanding and skills needed to achieve the success that they want.