The best Time Management tip… ever!

IMG_3310_lgThere must have been more books written about time management than any other area of business.  I personally know of over 30 and they all miss the point!

Traditionally time management has helped you to manage your time to fit in the maximum activities with the minimum wasted space.  Unfortunately most systems do not distinguish between important, urgent, not important and not urgent so you end up doing more but not doing the things that need doing the most.

Steven Covey tells a story of how in one of his seminars he asks some delegates onto the stage and presents them with a large jar and some big stones.  He asks them to get the maximum they can into the jar.  Once they have put as many of the large stones into the jar as possible he asks them how to get more into the jar.  They say they can get no more in.  He then presents them with some smaller stones that they can fit in around the big ones.  After they have fitted as many of these in as possible he asks them the same question.  Someone suggests filling the cracks with sand so they do this.  The jar is now completely full and they are confident that they cannot fit in any more until he presents them with a jar of water!

The point of the story is that if they had started with the water, sand and small stones then they would not have accommodated the big stones in the jar.  The same is true when managing your time.  Identify the “big stones” and then fit in the other bits around them.  In order to identify your “big stones”, perform the following exercise:

Print this out and fill out on the six blank lines below your six most important things that you need to do today:

  1. ___________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________
  4. ___________________________________________
  5. ___________________________________________
  6. ___________________________________________

Start off doing number one until it is finished or you can do no more then move on to number two, then number three and so on.  The reasoning behind this is that these are the six most important things that you must do today.  If you do not do them this way, then you were not going to do them any other way and at the very least you have made a start on the most important things in your life.

This idea comes from a young business analyst who was asked by the boss of a large American steel company to help him improve his efficiency.  The young man asked the steel boss to perform exactly this exercise.  The steel boss was so impressed with the results that he told all of his managers and soon the whole company was using the technique with dramatic results!

The young man suggested that the steel boss simply send him a cheque in a few months for whatever he felt the idea was worth.  The young man received a cheque for $25,000!!

Review your six most important actions above and try this technique for a week – it really does work.

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