Do we use our time EFFECTIVELY to produce results? Or do we get a lot done because we are EFFICIENT?
To help with managing our time it is important to understand the difference between being EFFECTIVE or simply being EFFICIENT. Being effective gets results whilst being efficient will get a lot done but being efficient may-or-may-not meet our business and life goals.
Let us explore some sensible time management strategies around managing our time and how these strategies impact getting the results we desire from our time.
EFFICIENT people believe TIME IS WHAT YOU MAKE WITH IT. They are aware of how much time they are putting into their daily actions, and they are aware of how much gets done with their time. These efforts are very good but their focus is not necessarily on meeting their business and life goals.
“I can get it done … just work HARDER” is not necessarily the best strategy.
EFFECTIVE PEOPLE also believe TIME IS WHAT YOU MAKE WITH IT. They measure the results or output of the time they used. These people operate with a sensible plan and a clear goal in mind, and focus the majority of their and energy on the important tasks in their plan that are going to reach their goal.
“I can get it done … just work SMARTER” is a better strategy.
To-Do Lists DO Work
EFFICIENT people have TO-DO LISTS that DO NOT necessarily focus on the relevance or importance of the tasks. The tasks on the list will be completed, and more efficient people will complete more tasks. But at the end of the month the important tasks (the tasks that move their life forward) are not necessarily complete. And how much is there to show for their busy energy?
EFFECTIVE people have TO-DO LISTS that DO focus on the relevance of the tasks. A to-do list is a simple, yet powerful tool. And at the end of each week and end of each month these effective people can experience and measure a real difference. These to-do lists help them order their priorities and maintain the focus.
Effective people have a clear end goal in mind and create micro-ambitions to achieve that goal. That is, they make a plan and then make a to-do list of the things that will make the most difference to achieving their business and life goals.
Do The Dreaded Tasks First
EFFICIENT people START THE WORKING DAY GETTING THE TASKS DONE. They start each day with lots of energy and get tasks done one-at-a-time. They tend to focus on the smaller or easier tasks because they are the easiest to get done, and this strategy creates the impression that things are moving forward.
But the large or difficult or unpleasant tasks that take up a lot of time and energy tend to conflict with this strategy. As a result these dreaded tasks are avoided, and this approach could sabotage their goals.
If you see a task that is consistently skipped over or moved to the next day, take a second to ask why: Is it an unimportant task? Is it and important task that you just can’t do?
EFFECTIVE people START THE WORKING DAY DOING THE DREADED TASKS FIRST. They do the large or difficult or unpleasant tasks at the start of each day. Research proves that this action frees up their energy and focus, and this allows them to shift their focus on to the next task, and as a result a lot more productive work gets done.
Effective people may clear their diaries first thing each day so that they can schedule time to get the dreaded tasks done.
My Goals Are Important
EFFICIENT people SAY YES TO THE WRONG TASKS. They tend to enjoy getting tasks done, and they may NOT say NO to those unimportant or irrelevant tasks. Because they are so efficient they may take out too much time to attend to helping other peoples’ goals. They may also spend too much time attending to distractions like social media or internet browsing
If you find your to-do list is filled with tasks that aren’t going to meet your business and life goals then your priorities are way off.
EFFECTIVE people SAY NO TO THE WRONG TASKS. They can tell the difference between irrelevant tasks and tasks that will make a difference to their life. Therefore, they can focus on getting priorities done and are able to budget time for helping other peoples’ goals.
Effective people have a plan or time management strategies on how to deal with social media and incoming emails.
Effective people ask questions like can it be outsourced or delegated. Can someone else do this? Can I recruit support to help me get this tough task done?
Reflect on these time management strategies and create your own sensible plan and a sensible routine. Being EFFICIENT can keep us busy but may-or-make-not help us achieve our goals. Being EFFECTIVE is productive and works towards achieving our life and business goals.