Still trying to manage time? STOP!
Posted on 26th October 2023 at 12:44
One of the biggest myths we face today is that if we could just find the perfect time management tool, we will finally be able to put our feet up and relax with the satisfaction of having won the battle against our endless to-do lists.
The truth is, there is no perfect tool. In fact, not only is there no perfect tool but the many very successful productivity tools that do exist will generally only make you busier. Have you ever noticed that getting through your inbox only leads to more emails in response? The same is true of tasks on our to-do lists.
If you’re ready to get off this never-ending hamster wheel, the first step is realising that you can’t do everything. Time is finite – you can’t create more of it - and relatively speaking we don’t have much of it.
[Quote] Uncomfortable truth: You can’t do everything, so you have to choose
Once you can accept this uncomfortable truth, you are forced to choose what you will spend your time on.
Which of all the things you could do are the most important?
What will help you achieve your goals?
What will make you feel most fulfilled?
It then becomes a prioritisation game, and only once you’ve narrowed down what is both valuable to you AND realistic to accomplish, should you start looking to the many tools out there to help you get more effective at managing your time thieves.
Focusing on the ways your time is stolen, either by perfectionism or procrastination, fire-fighting or being a time martyr, and finding strategies that work for you will allow you to actually feel the satisfaction of competing your workload, whatever that entails, and having the mental space to enjoy time for yourself.
Sounds easier said than done? Absolutely, but there are ways to move forward.
Of all the tools we use, there is one that is most helpful in addressing all these factors. The GROW model*. It has many uses, but here let’s focus on the fact it forces us to name our Goal – ie what we want to prioritise. This could be 1-2-1s with the team, or it could be leaving on time to pick up the kids – whatever you need it to be, just make it specific.
Next, we’re made to confront our current Reality. What are all the factors that will help or hinder us? What will steal time away from us achieving this goal? Where might we find support?
We can then start to identify our Options. What are all the ways in which we can act to achieve our goals? Don’t forget that doing nothing should always be on that list as option #1! Include options that might seem impossible just as much as the most obvious ones. Put it all on the table.
Finally, we’re in a better position to decide on a Way forward. You can make an informed choice We should now have a realistic and practical plan of action to complete our goal.
Get in the practice of prioritising and soon you will be putting your feet up after all.
If you want to talk about which other tools might help you or your team get the truly important things done, get in touch for a friendly chat.
*Based on Sir John Whitmore’s model in Coaching for Performance (1988)
Photo by Anthonty Tran on Unsplash
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