This is an original article, contributed by Jeff Johnson, President of LMI Chicago.
Who has never said, “If I only had time, I would…”? Our bet is – not many! Time, the most precious of commodities that we sometimes take for granted, often squander and regularly wonder where it went. So, how do we take better care of time?
The thing about cliches is that they’re cliches, precisely because they are universally true. None more so than the one about working smarter, not harder! Whether at work or in our personal lives, we’ll get more out of time by investing in tasks, activities, and responsibilities that provide a disproportionately higher return to ourselves and/or our organization. At LMI Chicago, we call these our High Payoff Activities.
We then make HPAs more powerful by writing them down. Yes, even in this digital age, we recommend that you write down your High Payoff Activities(HPAs). Try it for a day, then a week, then a month, and see what difference it makes to how wisely you spend your time. But, how do you determine what these HPAs are? In a business context, here are some questions that could guide you in picking what your HPAs are:
- What are you being paid to do?
- Why did your company hire you?
- What do you do that makes your company profitable?
- What do you do that no one else can do?
- What do you do that produces 80% of your results?
Write down your HPAs, and examine every task, activity, and responsibility against your HPAs. If there isn’t a match, then delegate, defer or delete. Yes, delete! Those reports you diligently prepare and distribute just to find that no one reads them…delete! That analysis you do every month, never to get a different result…delete! Those unproductive meetings…decline!
No commentary on time use would be complete without taking a look at interruptions, they are one of the biggest threats to our productive use of time. The American Management Association reports a manager has an average of 8 interruptions per hour and that one hour of uninterrupted time can accomplish the same as 3-4 hours of interrupted time. An 8-hour workday may only generate 2 to 3 hours of highly productive time. So here are some tips to better manage your time:
- Track and limit how much time you spend on your tasks, activities, and responsibilities.
- Avoid casual drop-in visitors or politely let them know you’ll get back to them later.
- Take regular, short breaks.
- Set self-imposed deadlines and don’t multi-task.
- Delegate tasks that are not HPAs.
- Turn off non-critical notifications to apps, programs, emails, and texts.
View the original article.
Do you want to learn how to master your time management skills and how to improve your overall productivity? Through the Chicago Effective Personal Productivity Series, facilitated by LMI Chicago, Inc. over 4 months (September 2019 - January 2020), you develop more productive behaviors and will increase your personal and team effectiveness.
Effective Personal Productivity Leadership Series
September 10, 8:30 am - 10:30 am