Thursday, December 6, 2012

Prioritization - The Key to Time Management

Have you ever experienced this situation in life? When you step into office, the desk is filled with memos and papers, suddenly you hear the phone ringing, and the door open all at the same time! Remember the 'frozen feeling' that comes over you? Have you ever thought about why you experience this frozen feeling?  

To know this, you should know why animal trainers carry a stool when they go into a cage of lions. Of course they have their whips and pistols but invariably they also carry a stool. Mind it, it is the most important tool of the trainer! He holds the stool by the back and thrusts the legs toward the face of the wild animal. The animal then tries to focus on all four legs at once. In that attempt to focus on all four, a kind of paralysis overwhelms the animal, and it becomes tame, weak, and disabled because its attention is fragmented. The same can happen to us, TOO MANY PRIORITIES CAN PARALYZE US!  

But in our complex business world, you can't wait until you have reached one long-term goal before neatly moving on to the next. Or any given day, you will be working on short-term tasks associated with multiple goals and objectives. So how do you decide which task to be completed first, second and so forth? Well the answer is Prioritization - The key to your Time Management. 
The first step in Prioritization is to have a clear understanding on what's involved in each task by asking the following questions - Who, What, When, Why and How. WHO? Who needs this to be done? Who will benefit from this? WHAT? Exactly what are you required to do? Just the benefit of doing the job does it justify the investment of your time, energy and resources? WHEN? By what date you need to complete your task? Do I have time to accommodate this task? WHY? Why have you been asked to complete this task? Why is it necessary in the context of long-term goals? HOW? How should you complete the task? How will your completed task be measured or evaluated? 

Remember, all the above questions have a huge effect on time management decisions and on the quality and cost of task. Once these questions are answered, the best way to begin is to make a list. I know you've heard this advise a thousand times : 'write things down'. Don't take it lightly, writing down things has a surprising benefit beyond merely helping you remember important information. After writing down what has to be done, you're more likely to experience a sudden 'aha' moment about the best way to accomplish things done. The truth is, this list will make you feel in control of your time! Having made this list you need to the following :
1)  Prioritize what is most urgent, second most urgent, and so on. Rather arrange tasks in order of their importance and urgency.
2) Rewrite your list as priorities change or fluctuate.
3)  Tackle your list by completing the first item on it, then moving on to the next one.
4)  Clean up and rewrite your to-do list every day before you leave the office.
5) Take an upbeat attitude toward your tasks so that each one seems worthy of your time.
6) Don't allow the tasks you don't complete to accumulate.
7)  Don't procrastinate, focus on how good it feels to accomplish tasks and dig in.
Unfinished weekly objectives muddy the waters of your goals to be reached. Executing the immediate tasks at hand sets the stage for executing your objectives and long-term goals. The only way to achieve goals and manage your time effectively is one small step at a time. You must address these small steps in the moment. That makes the 'now' priority number one. Use it or lose it !
Have you noticed, time deadlines and emergencies force us to prioritize. Just take an example, If you have only one letter to write, it will take all day to do it. If you have twenty letters to write, you'll get them done in one day! Like Brian Tracy says, one of the most important rules of personal effectiveness is 10/90 Rule. This rule says that the first 10 percent of time that you spend planning and organizing your work before you begin will save you as much as 90 percent of the time in getting the job done once you get started. 
Time management is really taking control of the sequence of events. And you are always free to choose the task that you will do next. Your ability to choose between the most important and unimportant is the key determinant to your success in life and work. So what's your call, to Prioritize or get Paralyzed ? Do visit my website for more!