Time Management = Performance Management

Well, as usual, this is a true story.

One of my colleagues seemed lost for the past couple of weeks. The short and minuscule daily report was late, performance was low, but every day he presented the situation as if there’s nothing wrong, utterly convinced he would turn the situation around that very day.

Does that sound familiar? In the morning you see a hero, and by the end of the day that individual is overwhelmed with what he didn’t do? Stay tuned.

So, I called it. Sat down. Asked the question, cracked the shell. As it turns out it is the oldest problem in the book. Lack of time management, time creation, time accounting or anything else you’d want to call it. For him TIME was not a focus point he took action on. He said, and I quote, “All these problems I must deal with feel as if they’ll never finish, half way through thinking about one, the next one comes to mind… it is frustrating. I’m really stuck!” We started discussing the matter and I presented few concepts to help him out of this vicious cycle. Here they are:

The mind is a machine that can only do one thing at a time

What i mean is that one’s mind can’t be the hard drive and the processor at the same time. The more stuff you have in your mind, the slower you process, think, create and so on. The first step is to download the “to do” list, or problem list, and free the mind so it can think. This is a free flow exercise as at this stage so many problems are interconnected its like a salad up in there. So, just grab a pen and paper and write.

Bring out the Sherlock in you — ID the suspects

Time to ID the issues, tasks and problems you’re facing. Look at what you’ve listed and connect the pieces. You’ll find that most issues are interconnected and you’ll be surprised how simple it all seems.

List the prime suspects — ID your priorities

20 / 80 rule. Yeap, it applies here as well. Finding the solution or executing 20% of the items you’ve listed may solve 80% of the whole list. Maybe you will not solve them all in one day, but surely a lot faster than you thought of. These should be a hand full of 2 to 4 or so.

No TO DO list — Allocate time to each item

Let’s say you have 3 items you must focus on. List them and allocate the needed time for each one. The time frame is your estimation of how long it will take you to complete each identified task. Do not worry, you’ll mess this one up at the beginning, we all do. We don’t account for the noise. Hence my next point.

You are the master of your time — choose who you give it to

If you’ve allocated 90 minutes to a task, and you get 3 x 5 min interruptions, you’ve lost 30 minutes of what you’ve allocated. How? Simple. Once you’re interrupted, your mind did not save the progress you’ve made in the last 30 seconds or so, so you must go back over what you’ve done till that point in order to continue.

And by the way, 9 times out of 10, the second time around the quality of your output will decline… You’ve been distracted, taken out of the zone, and … you’ve allowed it. So, we must learn to say NO to time stealers so we can say YES to a successful day, and a moment of pride at the end of it

If you know a notorious time stealer at work, advise him/her to find another job, as clearly they’re not needed there and they work for a manager that just doesn’t see it or wants to deal with it.

No one should WASTE your time and anyone else's.

So, if we get more done, what happens to performance? … Exactly!

…it makes us happier to feel productive… doesn’t it?

If you know anyone struggling with getting stuff done, maybe this could help. If you’ve got any suggestion on improving this 5 step recipe, post a comment below

Have a fantastic day,

MP