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Time Management

This lesson is a part of an audio course Organize and Prioritize Your Life by Austin Churchill

In our previous lesson, you learned about some organization & prioritization methodologies and how to apply them to your tasks. Applying a methodology gives you guard rails to ensure you are always working on your highest value work. As always, remember to find a strategy that best works for you.

Time Management has nothing to do with time. OK - time has SOMETHING to do with time management. The point is time management is about managing yourself. And if you can't manage yourself, you will not succeed in managing work.

It's great that you're organized and prioritized. You know what you have to do and what order to do it in, but if you stop now, you've accomplished nothing.

And for those who think they are great time managers, how many times recently have you thought, "I'll exercise tomorrow when I have more time" or "I'll cook that healthy meal tomorrow, I'm hungry now and need something fast" We use time as an excuse constantly, and we sacrifice quite a bit every time we do. So, I invite you to think about that. What do you sacrifice when you use time as an excuse? Your Health? Your Happiness?

Let's now check back in Employee A from Company XYZ. Employee A has a big project due. They are responsible for the company holiday party, and it's only a month away. It's a party at an offsite venue with food, drinks, entertainment, remote offices are flying in for the week, etc. How do they know if they will be able to get everything done? How will they be able to manage their time effectively? How much time should they allow for this work to get done? These are just a few questions that come to mind when considering time management.

When managing your calendar, it's important to assess how much time you have. The holiday party is a month away, let's call it 4 weeks. Technically, that's 672 hours. They won't be working the whole time though, let's take off the necessities like sleep, weekends (work/life balance), and assume they are working a normal 40-hour workweek. They're down to 160 hours. But Employee A knows they need at least 1 hour a day to answer unrelated emails. We're already down to 140 hours. You can see where we're going here, knowing how much time we have to exactly spend on the project dictates the actions you take. This might sound simple, but it's an oversight many people make. And It's easier to see this play out in shorter time frame scenarios. If your boss asks you to send an extremely urgent and important email in the next 10 minutes, your action is you drop everything and send it because you know you do not have a lot of time. You have the capacity to assess it the moment instantaneously. In Employee A's scenario, the party is 1 month away. If you don't do the work to know how much time you have, your action might be nothing. If you do go through that exercise, you might not realize you only have 40 hours available in the next 4 weeks to spend on this project due to other competing priorities.

Now that we understand how much time we have to work on the holiday party, it is critical to compare that to the time we need to work on it. If you cannot realistically get everything ready in time, you should start delegating work. To do this, we can leverage the Eisenhower methodology that we learned earlier. You should start with all of your Q1 tasks and move onto Q2 after that. All Q3 tasks should be delegated since these are tasks that are urgent, but can be done by someone else. Even if you do not complete all the tasks to prepare for the party, you will be confident that the tasks that were completed were the highest value tasks.

Your Task: think about something bigger than your current workload. Have you thought about how to properly time manage it? Go through the exercise of breaking that big item down. Did that exercise bring anything to light that you did not think of previously?

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Written by

Austin Churchill