Time Management 101

Is the task you are about to do Urgent or Important or a combination of both?

Let me explain the difference between the two. Is health urgent or important?

In most cases health would be important, however if I collapsed with a heart attack, it now becomes urgent. So the difference, can in some cases be time related such as your annual tax return, it is important, when it is overdue it has moved to urgent.

There are four combinations we need to be aware of;

1. Not Urgent and Not Important

What tasks are you doing on a day-to-day basis that fall into this category; Surfing the net, sending funny emails, reading the paper, getting the milk? This is the category of trivia, gossip and time wasting.

These are simply 'Distractions.'

2. Urgent and Not Important

This is where I was getting caught regularly, constantly answering other people’s questions and doing their tasks and jobs. Yes, they were Urgent but were they Important? In most cases not. Some meetings, some calls and interruptions will fall into this category. A great example of this is the tradesman that does a quote knowing very well that they are never going to get the job.

This is the category of Delusion.

3. Urgent and Important

This is where I spent the majority of my time, being pulled from pillar to post, feeling like an octopus trying to do everything myself; dealing with customers, suppliers, staff. If I’d had more arms and legs those would have been pulled as well. This is also where the fire fighter lives. Do you feel like you’re putting fires out all day? Crises, pressing problems and deadlines live here. Do you get to the end of the day and the ‘to do’ list has more on it than at the start of the day?

This is the category of Demand. And finally...

4. Not Urgent and Important

These tasks don’t have any urgency but they are important. This is the easiest category to avoid simply because it doesn’t have any urgency. This is where the Entrepreneur/Strategist needs to live! Here is where all those things that you know you need to do are, but you just haven’t got around to doing them yet; Documenting a Business Plan, Marketing Plan, Systemising the Business, Training the Team, Family Time, Fitness Time, Planning, Learning, Attending Seminars, Reading Business Books. These get put off until tomorrow, next week, next month.

This is the category known as the 'Zone."

Now you need to determine where you are spending the time in your business?

You'll generally find you that you spend far too much time in Distraction and Delusion, doing low dollar per hour tasks or tasks that should be delegated to other team members, or in some cases eliminated altogether. In most cases it will also show you that you don’t spend sufficient time in the Zone.

So how do we go about fixing this?

Given that most business owners don’t spend enough time in the Zone, then wouldn’t it be a reasonable strategy to schedule first? Just by creating a ‘default diary’ you are already starting to work in the ‘Zone.'

Isn’t that interesting?

Pick a day, any day on next weeks’ calendar and block out ‘sixty to ninety minutes’ where you will work un-distracted on your business. This means no mobile phone, no incoming phone calls and no interruptions.

(Most business owners are distracted every 11 minutes on average, the scary bit is it takes you around 20 minutes to get back to the momentum you had prior to being distracted).

Make sure your team is aware what is going on and if you can’t do this within your business then do it at home or at the local cafeĢ, whatever it takes! Maybe your team needs to lock you in your office so you can’t get out.

Once you’ve done this successfully for a week, then the following week, increase it from ‘ninety’ to one hundred and twenty minutes. Keep doing this until you get to a minimum of one full day a week working on the business. Plan and organise your work for maximum productivity, the more time you spend planning, the better the implementation of the plan.





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