In a fast-moving world with short time (and attention) spans, time management is still an issue. If we were to receive an updated version of the Ten Commandments focused on time management,
what might they look like?
In the ancient world, people took longer-time horizons.
It took about 20 years to build a pyramid. Rome wasn’t built in a day. In fact, it’s estimated to have taken 1,000 years to reach its height of glory.
But today we live in a period of compressed time spans.
The average TV commercial is 30 seconds. Typical smartphone users check their phones 150 times a day. In all this immediacy, time management is still an issue.
If we were to receive an updated version of the Ten Commandments focused on Time Management, what might they look like?
1. Thou Shalt Not Multitask
Multitasking is one of the great myths of the twentieth century. You can do a few things well, or a lot of things badly. Do one thing at a time.
2. Thou Shalt Not Confuse Immediate With Important
Ringing telephones and other interruptions stop you from getting work done that really matters. When someone gets you to stop working on your project to address theirs, they are managing your time.
3. Thou Shalt Not Dive into Office Intrigue
Yes, you need to know what is going on, but reorganizations or rumors occur frequently. Just keep a low profile and wait for the storm to pass. Gossip can be delicious but time consuming – and meanwhile, productivity suffers.
4. Remember the Weekends are For Relaxing
When you own your own business, it’s tempting to throw yourself into work 24/7. But your batteries need to recharge. Plus, the human mind is complex. It often gets its best work ideas when doing something unrelated to work.
5. Honor the Concept of Prioritization
Effective people build an action plan for the next day before they leave the office the previous evening. Often we list more projects than it’s possible to accomplish.
6. Thou Shalt Not Kill the Messenger
You work with others. Some are peers, others specialists or direct reports. Treating them well encourages them to speak frankly and make an extra effort to get the job done.
7. Thou Shalt Not Lose Focus
Certain projects are high priorities. Your compensation is based on reaching certain goals, your bonus on exceeding them. These ring the cash register.
8. Thou Shalt Not Let Time Be Stolen
People don’t arrive for meetings on time. Conference calls get delayed. Often we sit around and wait. Lost time is stolen and cannot be recovered.
9. Thou Shalt Not Get Discouraged
Big goals can seem insurmountable, especially early in the year. To hit a big goal, you need to hit a lot of little goals.
10. Thou Shalt Keep Score
Always know where you stand. It’s tempting to rely on the firm’s reporting, which often records revenue, not the necessary effort to get there. Develop your own tracking.
There are no new ideas in time management. The occasional refresher helps a lot.
Bryce Sanders,President of Perceptive Business Solutions