I’ve got a confession to make – when it comes to time management, for a long time I wasn’t able to see the forest for the trees. I slowly came to realize that I was wearing blinders. What on earth am I talking about, and what do ‘blinders’ have to do with time management?
As you probably know, blinders are the goggles that horses wear that stop them
from seeing to the side. It forces them to only see straight ahead, and ignore
anything that may attract or startle them. Unfortunately, many people have blinders
of their own (although they may not realize it). Often called “the way we’ve always
done things”, these personal blinders can make us overlook or ignore the bigger
picture, and miss opportunities for success or efficiency.
How does this relate to time management? One of the most basic things in time
management is to make a list of tasks you need to do, and to prioritize them in
some way. It’s probably the most common part of time management that people
know, and it is extremely powerful. But often we get so caught up in figuring out
what we have to do (especially if we are pressed for time) that we don’t step back
and look at the big picture. We forget to ask ourselves two key questions about each
task we write down:
- Do I really need to do this?
- Is there a better way I can do this?
Take a simple example of running some errands in the city – perhaps taking
something in to a dry cleaner, meeting a friend for lunch, and buying a gift for
someone. If you have a preferred shop for each of these tasks, you may find they
are spread out all over the city. You will have to waste a lot of time travelling
(whether driving, taking a cab or using public transport) just to get things done,
A better solution would be to try and group things together. This may mean that
you have to use one or more new stores, but you will save yourself a huge amount
of time and hassle (and you may just find a new favorite store to frequent!)
When doing tasks for work, you should be on the lookout for ways you can make
the tasks more efficient. Perhaps a task that requires six different steps can be
streamlined to only three steps if it is done a different way. Often things are done a
certain way simply because that was how they were done the first time. If the
business has grown or changed since, there may now be a more efficient way to get
the task done.
Not only will you save yourself time if you find a more efficient way to do a task, but
most bosses look favorably on an employee who improves how they work!
If you have a lot of tasks on your list of things to do, rather than diving straight in
and working like mad, pause for just a few moments and ask yourself two questions
for every item on the list; Do I need to do this? Is there a better way I can do this?
Those few minutes of thought may save you hours or even days of work!
You will get more done today than you ever thought possible by discovering simple
time management skills you can use in a few minutes. It’s easier
than it sounds!