Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Tick Tock – Where does the Time Go?!

By Cathy Kuzel on Feb 04 2013 • Filed under The Connected Woman

Where does the time go? Take charge of your To Do list! (Photo: Cema Graphics via sxc.hu)

Does your day end and you look back on what you’ve accomplished and it’s lacking? You made your ‘To Do’ list, you set a goal and still you feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get it done?
Time management is a misnomer. You can no more ‘manage’ time than you can herd cats. What you can do is manage tasks and ultimately goals. Every day is comprised of the same amount of time than the one before and the one after, it’s the tasks that you allocate to each day that you can manage. 
Measuring how much time you're putting into your tasks on a daily and weekly basis will give you a value of time that you can attribute to various tasks that you must accomplish to reach your goals. By measuring the time it takes, you can then set reasonable and achievable goals to become more efficient. In turn, your efficiency will help you become a better business professional. Make sense?
Let’s start . . .
Write it down!
Every task you perform should be related to an end result or goal, whether it's professional or personal. Write down your goals and the task(s) associated with it.
Tick Tock Track!
Track your activities and tasks for a minimum of one week. Be as accurate as you can by noting the time spent. A clever online tool is Task Timer. It will keep track up to the second. Stay focused. If you must get side-tracked by a phone call etc., make sure you note the time interruption.
Don’t Quit Now!
I know, you have little time as it is, and now you have to spend all this time measuring time! It’s ok to get frustrated, you’re an entrepreneur after all, but this will be an ‘eye opener’ as you start to realize just how much time you spend on certain activities. Hang in there! 
Time to Tally.
At the end of the 7 days, grab a cup of coffee and review the contents of your time sheet.
Identify Time Sinks:
A time sink is an activity that takes up huge chunks of your time. Which of these time sinks were planned and which of them weren’t? How can you adjust your schedule to proactively avoid or prevent these unplanned tasks?.
Bright Shiny Objects also know as distractions can break your focus and decrease your productivity. What are they? Can you plan around them? Can you remove them from your environment? 
It's a little like texting, talking, monitoring your GPS, and attempting to change lanes while you’re driving –something will go wrong because nothing has your full attention. Have you done a lot of unrelated little tasks during a larger task? Checked email while waiting for your program to load? Schedule these smaller tasks and train yourself to focus on the task at hand. 
Goal Audit:
Did you achieve your goal? How many tasks during this week were goal-oriented tasks? How many were not? If you aren't closer to achieving your goals, now is the time to reassess and strategize. Today. Right now.
Then, when you're ready, plan your week based on the task time measurements with your goal in mind.
Now go get Connected!


Cathy Kuzel (author of Are you a Collector or a Connector?) is a professional speaker and trainer on sales, customer service, professional development and a guru at networking. Find her on Facebook and Twitter and check out her story archive and website.

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