Take a holiday. It’s a really good time management strategy
I’m going to share with you one of my favorite time management techniques and one that gets me more mileage than just about any other. My name is Simon Thiessen; I’m the CEO of the Real Learning Experience. (Video transcript follows)
So, as I shoot this video, it’s my last day in the office, my last 2.5 hours in the office before I go on leave for a month. Now, I know you know what that’s like. I know you’ve been in that situation where there’s too much to do, you never get it all done, there’s so many priorities, there’s paper on your desk and you’re heading off on leave. How do you deal with this? Well, I think the answer to how we deal with it gives us a great insight into a highly useful management or time management technique.
Do I need time management training – or a time management attitude?
Now, when I say time management technique, I think it’s really more of an attitude. I think you already know many of the techniques that will help you be more effective, more productive with your time.The problem is that we need the right attitude, the right mindset to drive good time management - and the pressure, the deadline of going on leave, actually helps us adopt that mindset. Let me tell you about my approach. I bet you can relate to this.
Today, the last 2 or 3 days in fact, I’ve been a weapon! I’ve said no to things I may not have said no to, I’ve spent a quarter of the time on tasks that I could allow to drag out. I’ve thrown things out that were border line and probably didn’t add a whole lot of value. I’ve done the things that really, really count because I can’t deal with them while I’m on leave; and not dealing with them until I come isn’t acceptable. But because I’m dealing with those high-priority things, some of the less important, some of the more trivial things have gone by the way side. I haven’t dealt with anywhere near as many of other people’s priorities as I have of my own.
If this is good time management strategies, why don’t we do it all the time?
Now, all of those are great time management strategies. What’s enabled me to use them so effectively over the last 2 or 3 days? It’s simple: there’s a deadline. I can’t simply look at some of my really high priority and critical tasks and say “I’ll do that tomorrow; I’ll do that next week” because in my working life, for at least the next month, there isn’t a tomorrow, there isn’t a next week. In other words, if they don’t get done today, they won’t get done for a month. And when I look at those high-priority tasks, that’s simply not acceptable - but to get them done, the only way that’s achievable is to clear out some of the other stuff.
What this leads to me is this question: “What if we worked every day as though we were going on holidays tomorrow? How would that affect our decision making? How would that affect our assertiveness in responding to other people’s requests? How would that affect our simple prioritisation and the choices we make about the way we allocate our time?”
If you’re anything like me, it makes me ruthless. It makes me really discerning, and that’s really positive for my time management, my personal effectiveness and my stress levels.
Sure, we would love to see you at a time management training program – but have a mental stock take first. Do you have a mindset that will allow you to use the techniques you learn?
Thank you again for watching!
More time management articles you may like:
- Cocooning: the time management strategy that will save your sanity
- Time management strategies: do it at your inconvenience
- The comfortable lie that kills most time management strategies
- Want to spend less time managing people? Spend more time leading them