The best approach to time management
I often talk to my clients about time management. When asked, they usually say that they think they are pretty good at it. Sometimes that is true, but more often it is not. The reason is that “you don’t know what you don’t know”. You use the techniques (of which you are aware) to the best of your ability … but there may be better techniques of which you are not aware.
So let me explain this further. Below are some of the principles found in the wonderful book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey; I have also added several of my own views and ideas.
The initial three generations
The first generation is simply notes or to-do-lists – and to a limited extent they serve a purpose. They have the benefit of being easy and relaxed; but this “go with the flow” approach is not effective.
The second generation involves planning and having a schedule. This approach has the advantage that this scheduling means time keeping is good – people arrive at meetings on time etc. But are they doing the right things?
The third generation adds the benefits of clarifying values and setting goals. However this daily, short or at best medium term planning has limited vision; and it does not necessarily balance the various aspects of our lives very well.
Which takes us to …
The fourth generation – the best
This approach manages our visions, and better balances the various aspects of our often complex lives. It uses the approach of trying to move as much of our life towards what is called Quadrant 2 – that is things that are important that get done soon enough that they do not become urgent! Obviously urgent things can crop up in life, but with this approach these are handled more easily as other urgencies are less likely!
In the third of the Seven Habits Stephen Covey talks about “putting first things first” and this Quadrant 2 principle is a cornerstone of the fourth generation approach. If you add to this the second Habit of “begin with the end in mind” we have a powerful combination.
In my view this approach is best because it balances all our different roles in life in a more effective and holistic way. It can improve our not just our effectiveness, but also our enjoyment!
We start with identifying our roles, and have some appreciation of how they fit together, and where they may most often conflict. From each role we can select our goals and then break these goals down into daily and weekly actions. It is worth putting in effort and time to achieve real quality here, but it will be worthwhile. Once completed we then undertake the planning and scheduling, and with some judicious monitoring and reviewing we have a great system. Voila!
So how about taking the …
Challenge of the day
Can you spend two minutes thinking about ….
What generation of planning are you honestly using?
Then imagine what could happen if your time management was even better.
So, what are you going to do about this opportunity to grow?
I have worked with many clients on their time management – from students to experienced executives, and they have all benefitted by reviewing their approach. Time is too precious to leave to chance. The review can be life changing! Call me if you want to discuss this further.
Who do you know who might benefit from having their own personal or business coach?
I am, as always, happy to talk to anyone – no obligation whatsoever! Just call or email me.
To find the range of services I offer please visit:
Head Coach, Life Coach Associates
01227 278 61801227 278 618