I believe that the stress we feel from feeling overwhelmed with way too much to do and not having enough time to do it sits right up there with the stress of not having enough money to pay the bills.
For managers that I’ve worked with, from Moms to CEO’s, they state they feel as if they are living in time poverty. We are going through a great time of cutbacks, downsizing, pressures from the competition, and so managers of all types are cornered into making decisions about time.
The magic wand here is to simply become an expert at managing time. I don’t believe there is a better skill. You get more mileage out of what you will learn with time management than any other single strategy. So I encourage you to get good at this.
I would say 90% of you reading this will say you don’t have time to learn about time management. And we can have a good chuckle about that. A part of you will say, Dave, I already know a good deal about time management, so I don’t really need this. I’ll just be better about putting it to practice, OK?
Well, I ask you to be open to what I am about to share.
First, there are two things to this time management issue. One – you need to set priorities for things, and Two – you need to learn how to single-mindedly concentrate on one thing at a time.
You see, since you already know there’s not enough time to do everything that needs to be done, you have to be continually setting priorities on your activities. Ask always: “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?”
I find that question will keep you on track, each and every hour more than any other thought. What we do is get all wrapped up in some minor thing. Like the phone rings and we think we have to be doing something so we go grab the duster while we’re on the phone – and when we put the phone down we’re still cleaning stuff.
That’s a huge temptation. After all, it’s so much easier to do that than to tackle what we were working on. Plus, with my dusting example you see immediate reward – a clean whatever. I try and tell people that you cannot do it all and if you try, nothing will get your best because you are spread too thin. I myself have hired Minty Maids to come and take the housework off my hands. This is something that someone else can do. My priorities have to be on the things that only I can do.
OK – here’s what you really need to do. Start with your highest priority tasks. This is the starting point – go for the tasks with highest value. Before you begin your day tomorrow, set clear priorities of what you must work on and then work that most important task until it is complete.
This is the biggest stress reliever I can offer you.