What happens tomorrow. Let’s stop for a moment and think about tomorrow. Are you already planning your tomorrows? What do you have to do for tomorrow? Is tomorrow simply your busiest day for the whole week? How can you manage your time effectively tomorrow?
Manage your time effectively: Why is tomorrow almost always the busiest day of the whole week?
This is really a difficult question. Did you find yourself to tell people something like:
- Don’t tomorrow, I have too many duties for tomorrow.
- Tomorrow I will have a critical thing to do, we will not be able to see each other, let’s do this some other day.
- For tomorrow, every time slot is planned for me, let’s meet some other day.
As you can see, today when we think about tomorrow, we are already full of doubts that we will be able to finish everything that we want to finish. The list is long, isn’t it?
Now, in such a situation, we can list hundreds of reasons. But no, I will not go here with specific reasons because I think that listing the reasons will not solve the fundamental problem to succeed to manage your time effectively. Here I will try to speak about a broader view and approach when it comes to this topic because time management is not just about planning. If you know that for tomorrow you are full of things to be done you are already planning. But, yet you feel that you do not manage your time well enough. Setting up your work environment to save time is not enough to say that you manage your time effectively because these efforts may and should contain even many more small, specific tactics to get the complete picture or the results that you want to get.
If you want success in these efforts, you must begin with an analysis and understanding of how you are currently working.
No matter what you are doing, you need to look into the work you are doing. But the tasks you are doing are different in nature and complexity and require a different time frame for the execution. For example, your work tasks may be preparing a business plan, working on a business model redesign, innovating in products or processes, planning a new product launch, etc. And all of this can be on one or another list that needs to be done and which slowly but surely make pressure to you. Also, you have hundreds or thousands of ideas that are regularly deferred for tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and never.
Manage your time effectively: What are the tasks you need to do?
On the other hand, it’s likely that most of those things that are on your to-do list are overlapping, need to be done the same day, the same week with some other activities that are also important. The question is how much you as an individual, can carry the burden of your work. This question is one of the critical problems that will define your effectiveness. It is therefore essential for you to start categorizing your tasks to create a better picture of the whole. Only in such a way you can succeed to manage them and the time you spend to do them.
If you are an entrepreneur, for example, your entrepreneurial tasks, in general, can be classified into these groups:
1. Tasks that are related to creativity and ideation
Every business needs new fresh, so-called big ideas that will actually lead to innovation and improvement both in terms of the products or services that you offer, as well as in terms of your company’s processes and business model. Although many do not put this as a separate category, I want to emphasize it, having in mind the importance of these tasks regarding increasing your business potential energy. Now, it is also true that these tasks are not looking as a separate group because it is challenging to manage the time in which these activities will be performed. When you are more creative, is not something that can be controlled, it’s just happening in some process. So, you can not say that tomorrow from 9 am to 12 pm you will be creative and will brainstorm business ideas. But you can say that tomorrow you will have a brainstorming session with your team members to generate ideas for something. Because of this, you need to have such a group of work assignments.
2. Planning tasks
These tasks are the predecessor of all the other tasks you need to do. In addition to preparing a business plan and your personal plans, this includes some research, analysis, testing, consulting, and one that in some way will enable you to have a list of tasks that will require implementation. So creativity and ideation lead to planning, which should undoubtedly lead to the next set of tasks, which is…
This group of tasks represents only the completion of the tasks.
4. Monitoring and controlling of the execution
This is the fourth group of tasks for you as an entrepreneur. Whether it’s about monitoring and controlling your individual work or the work of your employees, this category of work assignments ensures that what you plan will be executed not in any way but as you have planned. If you want to manage your time effectively, you need to include monitoring and controlling tasks in your to-do list.
5. Communication tasks
This category is the permanent category, and therefore it constantly overlaps with all the other groups I mentioned here. But it is still an essential category that enables collaboration at the appropriate level and improves the results of all other working tasks.
And now you have these categories of tasks, and the question is what is next. First of all, each of these categories has a proper goal that needs to be achieved, and if you have a piece of paper and pen close to you write the general objectives of each of the task categories. Why? Because the biggest problem I have seen when people are trying to implement effective time management is to put as many tasks in a really short period of time. And then there is a problem! They can not complete them, there is no achievement, no results, etc. I do not think this is your goal with time management. You must be aware that successful time management must lead to the successful achievement of the goals of what you need to do at that specific time.
Manage your time effectively: How do you work?
Now, do you know how do you work?
I always get a sure answer when I ask this question. But my next question is whether you have formal working procedures for you and your team that defines the work and tasks that will bring you to achieving your goals. In most cases, I get a negative answer.
Well, then how can you be 100% sure that you know what you are doing when without working procedures you leave space for most of your activities to be based on accidence rather than in a well-planned way of working. Successful persons, according to my estimates, manage about 80% of their time to work on a precisely defined agenda or plan, and only 20% of accidents. We don’t want to avoid accidents, and we can not escape them. On the one side, they are needed, they generate creativity and the opportunity. But on the other hand, they can create significant problems.
You just have to know how you are spending your time at the particular moment. If you have work procedures, you must have work orders, and you can monitor the productivity of doing the work. But if you don’t have them, you must analyze your work by weekly filling the list of hours spent at work. So you will have all the activities that you have done and for how long. If you are using one of the more sophisticated project management tools or a to-do list, you have the opportunity to review all previous activities and to analyze them.
Learn more about how you can get rid of stuff you don’t need.
In this way, you will be able to know how much time you spend on:
- First, planned activities for achieving the goals,
- Then planned activities that simply don’t contribute to the realization of your goals.
- Then, the accidents that lead, or rather, contribute to the achievement of your goals and
- Accidents that simply are trash, the garbage that must be eliminated.
With such an analysis, you can save the large part of your time from those time wastes that spend your time and don’t contribute to the achievement of your goals. In a large number of cases, some of my clients succeed in eliminating even 50% of their current activities after they conduct such an analysis. Also, some of them are trashed because of the improvement of the ongoing processes that were discovered as opportunities during the analysis.
As you can see, if you want to manage your time effectively, you will need to be more systematical and analytical about what you work and how you do the work.