By Phil Cheesman
The simple answer is because we can't manage time – it happens at a constant rate in our everyday world. All we can do is manage what we do in the time we have available. That's why we should think about task management and not time management. You may think I'm splitting hairs but there is a fundamental concept at work here and that is: if we do the right things at the right times, we will get far more done and make better use of time.
Some people seem to sail through life getting all the really important things done without any obvious process or discipline for achieving this. These gifted individuals are the "natural” task managers who intuitively know just what they should be doing at any given time and have the strength of character to get on and do it without distraction. The rest of us would love to be able to achieve similar results, wouldn’t we? Well we can get the same results if we adopt the habits of natural task managers. But how?
Habits develop from repetition and the easiest way to ensure repetition is to adopt a process and follow it in a disciplined manner. So we need a process for deciding what we need to do (planning) and when we need to do it (scheduling) and then the discipline to stick to it until it becomes a habit.
I've spoken elsewhere about long-term planning and short-term planning and the importance of scheduling our tasks. The only thing left is to have the self-discipline to do what our diary/calendar/schedule says we should be doing. This means saying no to interruptions and the temptations of displacement activities (things we tend to do to avoid having to do what we should be doing). I'll cover some of the specific things we can do in my next blog, but the most important one is to find a process that suits us and then stick to it. Other people will eventually get used to our new, smarter way of working and adjust their own behaviour accordingly – who knows, they may even pick up our good habits themselves!
Think what it would do for our business growth and personal happiness if we could all develop the habits of natural task managers!