Let me say that again, if we first start with planning our work and outline the big picture of what things would look like, it is not the most effective way of doing things.
As I mentioned in my post, How To Organize Your Work Without Getting Distracted By The Small Unproductive Activities, planning is just a theory, it is not a proven strategy.
To be more effective and getting things done, it is critical to start with your time. You do not want to start out planning. You need to know where your time goes first, known as “time logs,” and cut all unproductive activities from it. I’ve learned this concept from Peter Druker, who wrote his New York Times best-seller, “The Effective Executive.” He says that effective people do not start with tasks, they start with their time. They see where they spend most of their time, and make corrections based on the already established routines and habits.
We are habitual beings, and almost 90% of what we do is based on patterns and routines that are happening outside of our conscious awareness. So what we do often is “under the radar,” and we do not know for sure where we spend our time, just based on memories.
If you create a time log of yourself, you’ll be surprised at the end of the month to see that some of the most important things you KNOW that has to be done, are often neglected and procrastinated. But our memories are telling us a different story.
I do not want to weird you out.., too much :-]
But in this article, I am going to show you how to create a “time log” of yourself and see where your time goes. This is a critical skill that you need to have, if you want to use your time effectively, BEFORE you start planning things.
In fact, you want to plan things, based on the time log’s evaluation, and simply replace unproductive activities with better, planned in advance action steps.
As you consciously notice where you spend the most of your time for a week, a month or even for longer periods of time, you are going to determine your key weaknesses that are really holding you back from the success you want. We all have some habit preventions that are either holding us back, or moving us away from the success we want. Creating a time log will help you NOTICE those things, and eliminate them completely.
How does this work?
There are 3 simple steps to create a time log.
1) Recording Your Time – you want to get the entire insight of where your time goes (the entire time frame)
2) Managing Time – cutting off the unproductive activities, that tire you out, and suck out your energy
3) Consolidating Time – organizing the remaining of your daily, weekly or monthly routines, after you cut out the “bad activities” (this is what we know as traditional planning)
What can you do about it?
As you determine your key areas that you need to focus on, and contrasting those with your active time log (testing if you actually did them in the first place), you can have subordinates that are around you, you may ask them to do the time log for you, like a secretary, and archive your activities on daily basis, without you having to think about it at all. You are just doing the usual approach and things throughout the day, and you simply have someone else do the recording for you – which is a better way of managing your time log. All you have to do is to revise it monthly. Longer periods of time tend to give you a better picture.
The creation of a habit lasts about 24-29 days, depending on the individual, so if you revise your time log every month, you should be able to see your habits in place and see what you can put off the table.
If you do not have a person that you can rely to for managing your time log, then there’s a way of recording it yourself. Before I tell you how to do it, I’d like to give you some questions that you may ask yourself as you revise your time log on a monthly basis.
As you look at each activity, ask yourself:
1) What would happen if this were not done at all? If the answer is nothing, then stop doing it.
2) Which of the activities on my time log could be done by someone else, if not even better than myself? This is where delegating the work to other people comes into account. I’ve outlined some hiring mistakes and principles here
As you’ve identified the time wasters from the time log, you’ll be able to manage them better.
If you want to learn more about how to use the time log, and record your daily activities effectively, then you can get more information about this from Peter Druker’s best-seller Effective Executive in chapter 2 (Know Thy Time). Most of the ideas that I use and work effectively are from that book… It is the best $10 you will ever spend – guaranteed! Get it in Amazon here