How Much Math Does A Business Manager Need To Take Time Management & Productivity – Can You Really Manage Time?

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Time Management & Productivity – Can You Really Manage Time?

Let’s clarify something: there is no such thing as “time management”. You can’t manage time. Time is relentless, it moves at its own set pace. It just goes away no matter what you do. Or don’t do it. We all have 24 hours in a day. Except, perhaps, in the Hungarian army, where the DAY consists of 24 hours, and you still have the whole NIGHT. (Haha.)

So why is it that when we talk about productivity, time management is one of the first things that comes up? The answer is simple:

Mathematically, Productivity is defined as work done over time. P = W/T

It follows from the equation that to increase productivity we must reduce the time required to do the work. In other words: we have to work faster. Faster and faster. right? May be. But then, maybe not.

Unfortunately, it seems that in our crazy, artificially accelerated world, the only way to improve productivity is to work at breakneck speed. Often at speeds dictated by the speed of light (or electrons), so to speak. Just think of email, cell phones, and Blackberries.

But, there is a problem. The faster we work, the more mistakes we make. The faster we work, the less we think. The faster we work, the faster we tire. The faster we work, the more stressed we are. The result: productivity suffers. It actually decreases. we burn We get sick. Some of us, sadly, even die prematurely. We live to work, but we have no life.

The solution? Forget the math. Or at least the productivity formula. Stop the madness! Slow down and start managing as much as you can. We redefine productivity in a more meaningful and personal way.

Productivity is: “Consistently completing actions that link to your business goals” (Sally McGhee)

Once you start thinking about your work and your priorities, time management takes on a whole new meaning. Time management will transform into effective task management. Tasks we can control. We can control what to do and when.

The what?” will be driven by our business goals and the activities that support them. The “when?” will in turn be driven by our priorities. All in our planning, our prioritization, our realistic estimate of period of time required to complete tasks and our disciplined execution of what we put on our calendars.

Consider these steps:

  1. Write down all your business (and personal) goals;
  2. Collect all your tasks in one location (ideally in MS Outlook’s Task Pad);
  3. Prioritize all your tasks and activities;
  4. Plan for tomorrow, tonight;
  5. Write all the chosen activities on your calendar, reflecting the realistic estimated time for their completion. Write tasks on your calendar only if you have the intention (and commitment) to do them.
  6. Come tomorrow, let your calendar guide your day, not the interruptions. (Of course, if you must allow time for interruptions, your calendar must have the “free” spaces to accommodate them.) A calendar full of back-to-back commitments will inevitably lead to incomplete tasks, missed deadlines, and frustration. Reality must rule! If a task requires 2 hours of your undivided attention, you can’t “wish” it to be done in half an hour.

Will the above eliminate the time crunch? Well, maybe not always, but most of the time. Develop the habit of focusing on your priorities (value-generating activities). Learn to say no. Learn to ignore (or turn off) sources of constant interruptions when you need to focus on your task at hand. The world won’t end if this email doesn’t get immediate attention. It wasn’t that long ago that if someone wanted to get close to you, they had to knock on your door or wait until you called.

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