“What’s urgent is rarely important, what’s important is rarely urgent.”
Organisation and using your time in the most effective way is the greatest struggle we face as humans. Every day you begin with 24 hours. Experts would suggest that 8 of those hours should be used up in sleep. However, you’re unlikely to be productive in those hours, short of some wondrously skilful sleepwalking. Using the rest of your waking hours effectively is a stress that we could all do without, as only a few of us manage vaguely well-balanced time management. These people are typically those who achieve most highly; they know that being effective is almost the complete polar opposite of simply being busy. We recommend you practice some prioritisation and time management right now – take a minute to learn about how “eating the frog” and harnessing procrastination can make great changes to your productivity and efficiency!
You can’t manufacture time
As we progress through our working lives, there is an inevitable shift towards seniority and managing rather than “doing things.” You would hope that as you become more involved in managerial duties, there would be less time allocated for the “doing” aspect of the role. That’s not how it really plays out though, is it? It’s remarkably easy to sit by and watch responsibilities pile up, without gaining any extra time to work through the to-do list. There aren’t currently any means to fabricate time, but if you have somehow stumbled upon a magic method to add more hours to the day, contact us immediately, please. Without the use of magic, you will know that it naturally should be a priority to, well, prioritise.
It’s necessary to understand just how damaging some poor uses of time can be, especially when in a management role. Meetings, Emails and looking at pictures of co-worker’s cats are classic examples of time wasting. For example, nearly half of all office work hours in the UK are spent reading and responding to Emails. In addition, an average of over 2 hours a day are estimated to be spent in meetings, despite 70% of respondents in a recent survey believing they attend more meetings than is necessary. If these numbers seem high, then you have certainly identified areas where your time can be redirected to a more efficient output.
Don’t procrastinate, eat the frog
Finally, we’ll address this strange, analogous phrase. If when you woke up every morning knowing that the single worst (or most difficult) thing you had to do each day was to eat a live frog – would you put it off until the end of the day? Or would you eat it as soon as possible to get it out of your mind? Postponing the least desirable task in favour of more instantly gratifying results is not a great example of effective time management. Making a to-do list could help you stay focused on not just filling your day with low-priority tasks. Remember, being busy is intrinsically separate from being effective. Completing important tasks over urgent requests is an ideal way to ensure that frog gets devoured every day.
Whether we accept it or not, procrastination is something we all do. And to varying degrees has an impact on all of our lives – be it in a professional or personal capacity. People who reflect on their past actions and wish they’d done more travelling or that they’d spent more time with family may have lacked focus and given in to procrastination. So now you see that choosing less important uses of time can be the main reason we don’t achieve our goals outside the confines of our working lives.
It’s not all bad!
It would be unfair not to give a quick mention to the positive ways in which procrastination can be harnessed. You can, with relatively certainty, assume that you are always procrastinating in some form at any given moment – there will always be something that you are not doing. The question is: “Are you procrastinating well?”
Taking a moment to step away from your desk, have a quick walk or make a cup of coffee can provide a soft reset; an opportunity to reassess the value of your available task options. Not making the snap decision to immediately dive into something you initially perceive as important can give you the time to make a more informed decision about your priorities. Try some active procrastination! Like all the best things in life, it’s most impactful when done in moderation.
Every single person can admit to practicing poor time management at some point in their life. If you want to learn more about dining on amphibians and how to avoid harmful procrastination, get in touch today! See for yourself what effectual changes you can make.
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