A rut is a routine with a series of bad habits that we do over, and over, and over again. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
We get in to ruts at work, in relationships, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Today we are going to focus on time management ruts.
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Good time managers routinely prioritize their work and concentrate on the task, which they have allocated the highest priority. They recognize the need to be disciplined and learn to stick to priorities. This includes eliminating distraction, not being a slave to email, using voicemail, and learning to say no. They develop a system that works that reinforces good habits. They are proactive time managers.
Bad Time managers simply do the opposite. They fail to plan, they don’t prioritize, are easily distracted, and don’t have a system to decipher urgencies from non-urgencies when interrupted. They are constantly overwhelmed, full of anxiety and spend most of their day working in a state of upheaval. They are reactive time managers.
Time Management Ruts!
The Rut: Not Planning “He who fails to plan plans to fail.” This is the quickest way to experience frustration and overwhelm. Starting our day without an attack plan is like flying an airplane without a flight plan.
New Routine: Planning
- Do your daily planing at the same time and same place every time.
- Spit your planning time. Spend 5-10 minutes creating your initial plan at the end of the day before you leave the office or the night before. Then validate your plan the next morning with an additional 5-10 minutes of planning.” That way, you capitalize on the benefits of both morning and evening planning.
The Rut: Email Jail If you are then get out! Email is the largest single interruption in modern life. In a digital world, finding time in the day hinges on minimizing daily email.
New Routine: Schedule Email
- Schedule time and check it 2-4 times daily, this takes discipline.
- Setup an auto responder notification with your phone number to deal with emergencies • Touch it once. Read, respond, and archive.
The Rut: To-Do List
I’ve never liked the term “to-do list.” A to-do list connotes procrastination because it’s only a list of intentions. To be effective, build a “results list” at the beginning of each day and label it Results List!
New Routine: Results List
- Build a results list.
- 80/20 rule.
The Rut: Time Robbers In today’s technology environment we are too accessible during are peak performance hours. Time robbers are tools, technology, and people that steal bits and pieces of our time throughout the day.
New Routine: Focus Time
- Put up boundaries on yourself and others.
- No Facebook, LinkedIn or email during focus time.
- Close your door and put up a sign.
One of the best time management secrets is to live in color by coloring your choices. This one skill can make a huge difference if you choose to exercise it routinely. So crate a daily ritual of asking your self what color is this before you respond to any activity. Make it a ritual and watch your productivity soar.