Eat the Frog – Managing your Time
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
― Mark Twain
Time – arguably our most precious resource.
Time is finite, we can’t add more hours to a day, or more days to a week.
Managing time is very important, not only to ensure that you meet your work deadlines but also to ensure that you have time to yourself and with your family and friends.
In the fast paced world of communications, time management is an absolute must.
So I figured what better place to explore time management than by talking to my colleagues here at contentgroup?
Interestingly, even though everyone’s time management system was slightly different, the same themes kept on popping up.
Here it is, time management according to contentgroup:
1) Write a list
5) Be flexible
Write a list
Everyone that I spoke to started off with ‘write a list’. This could be electronic or on paper.
Write down everything that you need to get done. Get it out of your head and onto paper.
That way you know that you won’t miss something. You also won’t need to waste unnecessary energy trying to remember what you need to get done.
The trick is to make sure that your ‘to do’ list doesn’t overwhelm you.
Rather than writing an enormous list that spans several pages, write a list of tasks and then sub lists under those tasks. Or separate your lists under categories such as jobs or clients.
One of the best parts about writing a list is marking off tasks once they’ve been completed. There’s nothing more satisfying than putting a big tick next to a task that you’ve finished.
Prioritising your tasks is absolutely essential.
Take a look at what you need to complete and work out what the most pressing tasks are.
Do some tasks have a looming deadline?
Could some tasks be competed at a later time?
I like to write the numbers 1-5 next to my priorities, with number ‘1’ being the most pressing. I don’t put numbers next to all of my tasks as I like to remain flexible, but I find that choosing five priorities gives me a good plan for the day.
Everyone in our office takes time out to plan what they’re going to do.
Take the time to properly prepare for your upcoming day/week and you’ll be rewarded with interest.
If you start your day with a plan, you’ll feel more in control and be able to maximise your efficiency.
A couple of tips when creating your plan:
- Batch similar tasks so that you ‘stay in the zone’ and work more efficiently
- Designate time to go through your email, rather than reading each email as it comes in. Reading emails as they’re received means that you break your concentration and can’t ‘stay in the zone’
- Forecast – if you have a big task due in a few days start chipping away at it now, rather than leaving it to the last minute
- Complete little tasks along the way so that they don’t become overwhelming
- ‘Rip off the BandAid’ – often it’s best to get any unpleasant tasks out of the way early on, rather than letting them loom over you all day. Or, in Mark Twain’s words ‘eat the frog’.
A surprisingly difficult task for many people but it’s an absolute must when you’re busy.
Don’t try to be Superman or Wonder Woman if it means you risk burning out or doing a poor job.
It’s okay to ask for help when you need it, it’s being smart, not weak.
At contentgroup our consulting team starts off every day with a ‘huddle’. We go through the tasks that each of us has on our plate. That way we can tell who has capacity and can help out a team member who’s very busy.
Having a plan is very important but you also need to be flexible.
Sometimes new and urgent jobs turn up, someone gets sick or something goes wrong. You need to remain flexible enough to change your plan if needs be.
If this happens, take a big breath and take it in your stride.
It might be worth taking a bit of time to re-write your list, re-prioritise, re-plan and, if you can/need to, delegate.
So go on and eat that frog, it means that the rest of your day will be much easier!
Photo: Stephen Michael Barnett
18 September, 2017
4 September, 2017