Course Objectives • Understanding the time management matrix • Weekly scheduling skills • Beating Procrastination • Creating new time management habits • Exploring activity logs – how are you really using your time • Takeaway action & implementation plan • Following up individual coaching session
Work Smarter Take Control of Your Workload Concentrate on Results, Not on Being Busy HANDOUT:HOW GOOD IS YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT?
Time Management Matrix URGENT/IMPORTA NT NOT URGENT/UNIMPORTANT ACTIVITIESCrisisPressing problems Deadline-drive projects ACTIVITIES: Prevention, PC Relationship building Recognizing new opportunities Planning, recreation ACTIVITIESInterruptionsSome calls, some mail, some reports, some meetings, proximate, pressing matters Popular ACTIVITIES: Trivia, busy work Some mail Some phone calls Time wasters Pleasantries HANDOUT:WEEKLY SCHEDULING
Beating Procrastination Manage Your Time. Get It Done. If you find that you are putting off important tasks over and over again, you’re not alone. In fact, many people procrastinate to some degree but some are so chronically affected by procrastination that it stops them fulfilling their potential and disrupts their careers. What Is Procrastination? In a nutshell, you procrastinate when you put off things that you should be focusing on right now, usually in favour of doing something that is more enjoyable or that you’re more comfortable doing. According to psychologist Professor Clarry Lay, a prominent writer in procrastination, it occurs when there’s ‘temporal gap between intended behaviour and enacted behaviour.” That is, procrastination is occurring when there’s a significant time period between when people intend to do a job, and when they actually do it.
How to Overcome Procrastination STEP 1: Recognise that You’re Procrastinating Useful indicators that will help you know when you are procrastinating: • Sitting down to start a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make a cup of coffee • Leaving an item on your TO DO list for a long time, even though you know it’s important • Regularly saying “Yes” to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do, and filling your time with those instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list • Waiting for the ‘right mood’ or the ‘right time’ to tackle the important task at hand • Filling your day with low priority tasks from your TO DO List • Reading e-mails several times without starting work on themor deciding what you’re going to do with them Putting off an unimportant task isn’t necessarily procrastination. It may just be good prioritisation!Putting off an important task for a short period because you’re feeling particularly tired isn’t necessarily procrastination either, so long as you don’t delay starting the task for more than a day or so, and this is only an occasional event. If you have a genuine good reason for rescheduling something important, then you’re not necessarily procrastinating. But if you’re simply, ‘making excuses’ because you really just don’t want to do it, then you are.
How to Overcome Procrastination (Continued) STEP 2: Work Out WHY You’re Procrastinating Why you procrastinate can depend on both you and the task. But it’s important to understand which of the two is relevant in a given situation, so that you can select the best approach for overcoming your reluctance to get going. Here are some of the reasons why people procrastinate: • A particular job is unpleasant, and they try to avoid it. Most jobs have aspects that are unpleasant or boring to them, and often the best way is to deal with these to get them out of the way quickly so that you can focus on the enjoyable aspectsof the job. • Disorganization– Organized people manage to fend off the temptation to procrastinate, because they will have things like prioritised to-do lists and schedules which emphasize how important the piece of work is, and identify precisely when it’s due.
How to Overcome Procrastination (Continued) • Here are some of the reasons why people procrastinate:(Continued) • They feel overwhelmed by the task. You may doubt that you have the skills or resources you think you need, so you seek comfort in doing tasks you know you’re capable of completing. • Unfortunately, the big task isn’t going to go away – truly important tasks rarely do. You may fear success or failure. For example, you may think that success, will lead to you being swamped with more requests to do this type of task, or that you’ll be pushed to take on things that you feel are beyond you. • Being Perfectionists – procrastination often occurs to perfectionists. They tend to think “I don’t have the right skills or resources to do this perfectly now, so I won’t do it at all” • Underdeveloped decision-making skills – If you simply can’t decide what to do, you’re likely to put off taking action in case you do the wrong thing. You may not have clear goals set in place, therefore extremely difficult to base consistency around your decision making.
STEP 3: Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies Breaking the Habit – Tips That Will Help to Motivate You Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behaviour. That means that you won’t just break it overnight. Habits only stop being habits when you have persistently stopped practising them, so use as many approaches as possible to maximize your chances of beating procrastination. Some tips will work better for some people than for others, and for some tasks than others. And, sometimes, you may simply need to try a fresh approach to beat the ‘procrastination peril’! Motivational Tips: • Reward yourself and notice how good it feels to finish things • Get someone to check up on you – accountability is great • Remember the unpleasant consequences that may occur if you do not complete these tasks • Work out the cost of your time to your employer • Eat an elephant –remember small steps to begin with – do something everyday
Breaking the Habit – Tips That Will Help to Motivate You (Continued) Get Organized Tips: • Keep a TO DO List – and use it daily • Use an Urgent/Important Matrix to help prioritise your to-do-lists • Become a master scheduler & project planner • Set yourself time bound goals • Focus on one task at a time Overwhelming Tips: • Break project into smaller chunks – Then create an action plan for each chunk • Start with something that is quick and easy to get the ball rolling • Notice that youare achieving things – Congratulate yourself with your achievements Unpleasant Tips: • We often overestimate the unpleasantness of a task. So give it a go! You may find that it’s not as bad as you thought! • Hold the unpleasant consequences of not doing the work at the front of your mind • Reward yourself for doing the task
Breaking the Habit – Tips That Will Help to Motivate You (Continued) In-Decisive Tips • Look at Decision making tools such as : PMI, force field analysis, six thinking hats and many more effective decision making tools • Ensure that you have goals set in place and understand the reasons to achieve these goals R E M E M B E R :The longer you can spend without procrastinating, the greater your chances of breaking this destructive habit for good! HANDOUTS:(1) STRESS DIARY (2) PROCRASTINATION EXERCISE
Activity Logs:Finding Out How You Really Spend Your Time How long do you spend each day on unimportant things? Things that don’t really contribute to your success at work? Do you KNOW how much time you’ve spent reading junk mail, talking to colleagues, making coffee and eating lunch? And how often have you thought, “I could achieve so much more if I just had another half hour each day.”And are you aware of when in the day you check your e-mail, write important articles or do your long-term planning? Most people find they function at different levels of effectiveness at different times of the day as their energy levels fluctuate. Your effectiveness may vary depending on the amount of sugar in your blood, the length of time since you last took a break, routine distractions, stress, discomfort, or a range of other factors. Activity logs help you to analyse how you actually spend your time. The first time you use an activity log you may be shocked to see the amount of time that you waste! Memory is a very poor guide when it comes to this, as it can be too easy to forget time spent on non-core tasks.
How to Use the Tool Keeping an activity log for several days helps you to understand how you spend your time, and when you perform at your best. Without modifying your behaviour any further than you have to, note down the things you do as you do them on our Activity Log template (attached in template section of workbook). Every time you change activities, whether opening mail, working, making coffee, gossiping with colleagues or whatever, note down the time of the change. As well as recording activities, note how you feel, whether alert, flat, tried, energetic, etc. Do this periodically throughout the day. You may decide to integrate your activity log with a stress dairy. Learning from Your Log Once you have logged your time for a few days, analyse your daily activity log. You may be alarmed to see the amount of time you spend doing low value jobs! You may also see that you are energetic in some parts of the day, and flat in other parts. A lot of this can depend on the rest breaks you take, the times and amounts you eat, and quality of your nutrition. The activity log gives you some basis for experimenting with these variables.
Learning from Your Log (Continued) Your analysis should help you to free up extra time in your day by applying one of the following actions to most activities: • Eliminate jobs that your employer shouldn’t be paying you to do. These may include tasks that someone else in the organization should be doing, possibly at a lower pay rate, or personal activities such as sending non-work emails. • Schedule your most challenging tasks for the times of day when your energy is highest. That way your work will be better and it should take you less time. • Try to minimise the number of times a day you switch between types of task. For example, read and reply to e-mails in blocks once in the morning and once in the afternoon only. • Reduce the amount of time spent on legitimate personal activities such as making coffee (take turns in your team to do this – it saves time and strengthens team spirit).
Key Points Activity logs are useful tools for auditing the way that you use your time They can also help you to track changes in your energy, alertness and effectiveness throughout the day By analysing your activity log, you will be able to identify and eliminate time-wasting or low-yield jobs You will also know the times of day at which you are most effective, so that you can carry out your most important tasks during these times. HANDOUT:ACTIVITY LOG TEMPLATE
Action Programs—Becoming Exceptionally Well Organised To-Do Lists are great for managing a small number of tasks. The problem is that, for most of us, our To-Do List is not really planned, focused action lists. Rather it is a sort of a catch-all for a lot of things that are unresolved and not yet translated into outcomes. Specific entries, such as “Call Bob”, exist along with less vague aspirations, such as “Get Started on house painting project.” Often, the real actionable details of what the list-maker has ‘to do’ are actually missing. (For example, house painting job: more precise entries would be choose colour scheme, buy paints, and so on). What this means is that you tend to do the specific tasks, and fail to make progress with the big important projects. And even if you do get beyond the quick actions, having a complete project as a ‘to do’ can lead you to focus all of your attention on it. This makes multi-tasking difficult. This can be a serious problem in a job where you need to make progress on many different projects at the same time – and this is exactly the situation most senior managers find themselves in.
This is where action programs are useful. Action programs are ‘industrial strength’ versions of to-do lists. Because they incorporate short, medium and long-term goals, they allow you to plan your time, without forgotten commitments coming in to blow your schedule apart. Because priorities are properly thought through, you’ll be focusing on the things that matter, and not frittering your time away on low value activities. And because they support delegation, they help you get into the habit of delegating jobs where you can. All of this lets you save time – and get away on time- whilst also significantly increasing your effectiveness and productivity.
Action Program—How to Use this Tool STEP 1: Collection – Overwhelm Purge – Use Post It’s Make an inventory of all the things in your world that require resolution. Try to collect and write down everything – urgent or not, big or small, personal or professional – that you feel is incomplete and needs action from you to get completed. To an extent, this collection is taking place automatically, E-mail requests are getting stored in your email account, memos demanding attention are being delivered to your in-tray, mail is reaching your mailbox and messages asking for action are accumulating on your voice mail.
STEP 1: Collection – Overwhelm Purge – Use Post Its(Continued) But there is other stuff – stuff that is idling in your head, projects you want to run, things you intend to deal with lying at the bottom of the drawer, ideas written down on stray bits of paper – that need to be gathered and put in place too. Bring all of these actions and projects together and inventory them in one place. IMPORTANT: Make sure that your personal goals are brought onto this list. Step 2 – Pruning Now, process the list you made in step 1, by looking carefully at each item. Decide whether you should, actually, take action on it. A lot of what comes our way has no real relevance to us, or is really not important in the scale of things. If that is the case, then delete these things from your inventory.
STEP 3 – Organising and Prioritising • Review your inventory of items. For any which are separate, individual actions that make up part of a larger project, group these individual actions together into their projects. For example, at home, you may want to improve your bathroom, and repaint your living room; these can go into a ‘home renovation’ project. At work, you may be providing input into the requirements for a new computer system, and may be expected to test and then train your team on this system at a point in the future: all of these go into a ‘computer system’ project. What you’ll find is that once you start, items will almost seem to ‘organise themselves’ into coherent projects. You also need to make sure that your personal goals are included as individual projects. • B. Review these projects, and allocate a priority to them (e.g., by coding them from A to F) depending on their importance. Clearly your personal goals are exceptionally important projects!
C. Insert your projects into a formatted action program: : • A ‘Next Action List’ which shows the small next actions that you will take to move your projects forward. • A ‘delegated action List’, which shows projects and actions have delegated to other people • A ‘Project Catalogue’ that shows all of the projects you are engaged in and the small individual tasks that you have identified so far that contribute to them. The great news is that, by this stage, you’ve already created the largest part of this, The Project Catalogue! This is the list of prioritised projects and activities that you’ve just completed.
STEP 3 – Organising and Prioritising (Continued) Typically, the Project Catalogue is at the back of the action program, as it’s often only referred to during a weekly review process. Next create the Delegated Actions List by working through your Project Catalogue, and identifying tasks that you’ve delegated. Record these under the name of the person who you’ve delegated the activity to, along with the checkpoints you’ve agreed. Typically, the Delegated Actions List sits in front of the project catalogue in your action program document, as it’s referred to quite often. Finally, create your Next Action List by working through the projects to which you’ve given the highest priority – the projects that you want and need to move forward on straight away – and extracting the small, logical next actions forthese projects. • The Next Action List goes on the front page of your Action Program, as you’ll refer to it many times a day .
Step 1: Collection – Overwhelm Purge – Use Post-its Step 2: Pruning Step 3: Organising and Prioritising Part A Organise Items into Projects – grouping of the items Part B Review the projects and prioritise them Part C Create a formatted Action Program: • The Project Catalogue • Delegated Actions • Next Action List Key Steps for Action Programs HANDOUTS:(1) FORMATTED ACTIONS PROGRAM EXERCISE (2)DELEGATED ACTIONS(3)ACTION LIST (4) TAKEAWAY IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
Contact Us LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR LEADERSHIP PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIES WWW.HIGHPERFORMANCECOACHINGANDTRAINING.COM.AU