01 Sep 2010

Priority Managements vs Time Management

Dr Adam Fraser is one of Australia’s leading educators, researchers and thought leaders in the area of human performance.

Earlier this year I had a number of challenges that changed the way I looked at time.

1. My wife who was the GM of the company gave birth to our beautiful daughter Isabella.

2. My PA left for a career change the day Chris gave birth.

3. The new office manager got glandular fever and was bed ridden.

This left me to manage four staff, travel around the country presenting, run the office and do all the administration. To say I was drowning was the understatement of the century. I turned to a time management book hoping it would be my life raft. My initial impression was that the system was incredibly complicated and it took me a huge amount of time to read and understand it. This of course completely defeated the purpose! However I was desperate so I pushed on and I made lists, prioritised and attacked my work with a newfound gusto. A key component of this system was that if a task only took two minutes, then I should do it straight away! At the end of the day what I found was that I had completed nothing of importance. I had spent my entire day going from one two-minute task to the next two-minute task. I was busy, but not effective.

Then I typed “time management” into Amazon and found there are more than 16,000 books written on time management. Clearly something was not working here. In a defiant rage I sat down and worked on my own time management plan. It is a combination of pure desperation and everything I have learned in the last 15 years working with individuals and teams.

Big Picture:

The over arching principle of this approach is that managing our time is no longer the answer. The reason is that we could work forever and still not get everything done. There is always more work to do. The key is to articulate your priorities, determine what key activities will achieve these priorities and then ensure the majority of your time is given to those critical activities. This is priority management not time management.

Action Steps:

1 Create a strategy plan to determine what you need to do in the next three months, six months and one year to accomplish a great job. This enables you to focus on these tasks completely and gives you a great metric of whether you are being effective.

2 Determine the key activities that will enable you to achieve the strategy. This allows you to organise your activity to focus on things that will actually make a difference to the bottom line.

3 Start to be discerning about where your time is spent and ensure that the majority of your time is spent on the key activities.

Start to record where your time goes. A large number of people have their day gobbled up with distractions and tasks that aren’t important. I was working with a sales team that was underperforming. The first task I gave them was to map where they spent their time. The result was that on average the sales team only spent 8% of their time actually selling. Most of their time was spent on administration and noncritical tasks.

5 Have the self discipline to stick to the key activities and protect your time from the distractions that may interrupt you.

For a copy of the whitepaper and workbook on Dr Adam’s system, please visit his website www.dradamfraser.com Happy prioritising!!

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