I, like most people, am not very good at managing my time.  Everyday seems to pass by rather quickly and I wonder what it is I accomplished for the day. I seem to miscalculate the time it takes to accomplish certain tasks and goals.  Do you have the same dilemma and challenge?  Due to the request I received recently from a friend and a client, I have decided to create a S.I.M.P.L.E. Formula for Time Management.  Below I have created the formula that I plan to use myself to improve how I utilize my day.  You can use it, too.  Let me know how well it works.

S – Start Planning the Day Before I have read articles of others and this is quite often listed as the very first step in managing our time.  Spend some time the night before and plan your day in advance before you go to bed.  Include not just work related items but personal ones as well.  I have tried this and it seems to work when I take the time to do it.  I make a list of the things I need to do the next day.  I do not write them in any particular order.  I just write them as I think of things I need to do.  Arranging them comes later.  I usually do this just before going to bed.  I have found that it helps me sleep easier because my mind is not racing about the things that need to be done or how I am gong to do them.

I – Itemize Your List Once I make my list, I then itemize them in a couple of ways.  First I determine which items are more important than others and which need to be accomplished sooner.  Will the task I am identifying require more than one day to accomplish?  If so, then I determine which part of that task needs to be accomplished and allot a time period for getting it done.  I find that if I give myself a specific time frame to accomplish something, then subconsciously I work towards a deadline.  That enables me to focus on it and complete it.  In any event, itemizing tasks by order of importance and placing them within a scheduled time frame allows me to stick to those tasks with less confusion as to what it is I should be doing and thus getting things done.

M – Make Yourself Stick To The Schedule This is a difficult part of the process.  As we begin our calendar of activities, there will always be things to distract us, especially if we work with other individuals.  When I was a sales manager I wanted to be available to my agents.  I did not want to be the kind of manager that was not caring or not open to allowing them to discuss things of importance to them.  At the same time I learned that their crisis was not always my emergency, even though they felt it should be so.  I learned that if I stick to what I have assigned myself there seemed to be time for other matters as well. Sometimes, other individuals just need to learn to be responsible for their own actions and duties at work and allow us to do the same.  By respecting ourselves and our own schedule, we not only teach others to respect it, but to respect the time they should set for themselves to accomplish goals.  Sticking to our schedule is truly a benefit to all and we will discover that things get accomplished.

P – Practice Delegating Tasks and Assignments An effective manager of time recognizes that our use of time in certain areas is truly wasted.  There are some tasks that others could accomplish for us and thus allowing us to focus on those things of more importance.  It might be useful to allow our children to wash the dishes or gather up the dirty clothes.  It could improve work related assignments by sharing them with others who are capable of doing them.  It also helps build character in others when we demonstrate a trust in their ability to do something normally performed by us.  No doubt there will be those in the workplace who simply view this as a passing of the buck or more workload for them.  However, if we treat individuals respectfully, demonstrating our confidence in their abilities, they will be more readily open to helping out for the benefit of everyone.  Are there tasks at work or at home that can be delegated to other employees or other family members?  Can we train someone else to take on a role or responsibility normally performed by us?  Why not consider it and share the work load?

L – Look At The End Result With A Positive Outlook Sometimes we look at tasks with such a negative light that we linger about starting them, much less finishing them.  However, if we change our attitude and look at the end result with a positive attitude and a sense of accomplishment, we will be more likely to not only complete the task but get it done sooner than expected and with a greater quality of work.  Too many times we view our assignments with a sense of dread and this affects not only when we start, but how quickly we finish and the quality in which the work was done.  Yet, when we change our attitude towards assignments and we mentally see and end result, we accomplish things much more quickly and we improve in our ability to do it.  In addition to this, a positive attitude is contagious and can lend to a much friendlier work environment or family atmosphere over time.

E – Eat the Elephant How do you eat an elephant?  The answer is SIMPLE – One Bite At The Time! Sometimes we have what appears to be so much on our plate that we dread even trying to eat the meal.  However, if we realize that tasks take time and accept it, then as we accomplish things little by little, we see the success of the overall picture.  Try not to look at the entire task at hand.  Rather, focus on the little tasks involved and work to accomplish and finish each little task.  There is an old expression that Rome was not built in a day.  Some things that require large amounts of effort, time, will power, determination, research, etc., can be completed if we focus on all the little tasks that make up a part of the whole.  so not spend time looking at the elephant.  Just take the bites you are able and in time the elephant will be eaten.

Everyone is looking for ways to get things done.  There are hundreds, even thousands, of suggestions about how to manage our time.  Sometimes we may even have to give up on something we want to do if it does not fall into our list of priorities.  One thing I will add, however, is that we need to schedule time for ourselves and time to relax and have fun.  If we go through life without emotional and physical reinforcement, life will not be worth living.

I hope these S.I.M.P.L.E. suggestions help. Let me know what you think and be sure to get a copy of my book, Success Is S.I.M.P.L.E, available in electronic and paperback format.

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