Successful Time Management Technique development is an imperative for the busy administrator or manager. But, let’s face it, successful time management techniques are a dime a dozen. There is no shortage of books and training on the subject. If you are reading this article, you have either not found a book or training yet, or you are looking for a better solution to what you now do to manage your day within the time constraints that you have.
With all of the techniques and teachings out there to learn from, you would think that an article like this need not be written. But here you are reading it, wondering if there just might be something new or unique about what I have found that works the best for me as an administrator and manager of people. Being an entrepreneur, I have found my system to work the very best for me since I must sometimes juggle about a weeks worth of immediate tasks in the course of a single day.
For most busy entrepreneurs and business executives, time is our worst enemy. If we do not understand its nature well enough to find a way to work within its demands, we will find ourselves up to our ankles head first in a backlog of work. [Can I get an AMEN?] But, I am here to tell you that there is hope! Here is one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned over the years in managing my tasks and demands within the scope of the time that I am given each day. The way I do it is simply this. I break my daily and weekly schedule into bite sized pieces that my overactive mind can easily digest – which is about 20 minutes at a time. I call these my 20MDs.
This technique is especially useful for very busy administrators or managers that must address a long list of demands in a single day. The 20MD approach to managing my schedule have proven to be a very successful time management technique for me. It has been so successful for me and those that I work with that it is now taught through our personal development, success coaching, and consulting services to our clients. Here’s how I do it.
Break up your daily and weekly tasks into approximately 20 minute increments and schedule them into your time constraints for both your daily routines and your weekly routines. I personally work off of a Task List (To-Do List) using Microsoft Outlook. By doing this, I can work through my prioritized tasks without having to negate any single one task for lack of time.
This is ideal for moving through large lists so that none of your priorities or tasks get left behind. If a particular task needs additional time each day or week, assign two 20 minute increments to it either at the same time back to back or broken up over a few days (depending on your deadline). As you work through your list, always look for those tasks that you can spend the least amount of time on to get the most amount of progress out of.
When you are working on these tasks (for no more than 20 minutes), always be thinking of who you can delegate or pass off the remainder of the task to so that you can keep moving forward with your productivity for the day. Often times, if your skill level is an overkill for a particular task, it is wise to pass off the remainder of the task to someone who is more fitted to getting it done, i.e. someone with enough skill level to accomplish it, but not with so much skill level that it wastes their productivity. Does this make sense? Delegate, then move quickly on to the next task once you have either completed or delegated the previous task out to others.
Using this method of prioritizing, addressing, and delegating (when possible) allows you to move more quickly towards the goal or task being accomplished. Break your list into MUST be done, NEED to be done, WOULD LIKE to be done. Always attack the MUST be done list first so that critical tasks do not go unaddressed or left unfinished when time is of the essense.
Once you have your task list prioritized for the day or week, appropriate time into your schedule in blocks of time to address your tasks, and contact those who will be needed in helping you to accomplish them, whether through collaboration or delegation. Take at least one 20MD a day, typically at the end of your day and review your progress and re-appropriate your time allocations if you find that you are unable to effectively accomplish certain goals or tasks within their apportioned time windows.
Step One: Step one in getting started with this successful time management technique is to build your task list and assign approximate times for completion to them.
Step Two: Assess the tasks importance and needed time allocation, and assign additional time to it in your day if need be, and/or move the remaining task(s) associated with the project to the next day, week, etc.
Step Three: Practice this technique for a week in order to build the daily disciple into your day of using 20MDs, then do a project completion, administration and delegation audit of your success in using it.
Step Four: Adjust your time allotments to reflect the actual incremental time assignments that you need in order to maintain your schedule (either less than 20 minute segments or more). If you must add additional time, add five minute increments at a time to your time appropriation chart until you find the right allocation of time, then adjust your project schedule and personal administration assignments accordingly.
Give this a try for one month, then let me know how successful you have been, what your biggest challenges were with your 20MD approach, and who you modified it for your personal circumstances and time constraints. Who knows? You might be able to teach us something about successful time management techniques that we don’t know!