Time Mgmnt is Overrated!

Everywhere I turn these days, I find books, videos and articles that drone on about the wisdom of time management.  The wisdom of time blocking; the benefits of specific times for specific tasks; the discipline of securing time for the most important things.

There certainly is benefit in all these concepts.  I acknowledge that.  But, here is the downfall to letting time be the master of your day: it doesn’t guarantee the completeness or quality in how you use it.  It simply limits how long you’ll be focused on something before it forcibly moves you to the next thing.

Here’s a better approach.  Let your objective be your master and make time the measuring stick for how much more efficiently you can get things done.  Sounds backwards, I know, but isn’t your goal to always finish the most important things to do, not just assign them a time slot and hope for the best?

An example:

Your daily challenge is to phone prospective clients and secure sales appointments for the following week.  You know, from your business metrics, that you need a minimum of 10 sales calls each week to close three contracts.  What if a planned two hour time management slot only yields four appointments instead of ten?  Do you move on and say, “Oh, well, it just didn’t happen today.”  Do you forego the next important task by stealing its time slot to continue your client phoning?  What do you do?

Alternative:  You set the 10 appointments/day as your block and perfect your scripts and objection handling to be able to complete the objective until you can always get it done within two hours.

You manage to your skills and strengths instead of managing to time.

Another example:

Your day always leaves three afternoon hours for appointments with your team members to discuss their projects and clients.  You set your appointments in 30-minute slots because history has taught you that is how much time it takes to get through each conversation.  History also taught you that most talks do run over and slowly during the afternoon, you never seem to fit in all the meetings.  Sound familiar?  What do you do?  The clock is ticking.

Alternative:  You set a framework for how the meeting will be conducted.  Each team member learns, over time, that the most important items get addressed first; a two-minute project or client summary should be thought out in advance; take quick notes or record the conversation.  Having a quality 30 minutes is the goal.

You manage to a process that doesn’t diminish the quality of the review instead of chasing time slots in a race that you’ll never win.

Don’t manage to time.  Manage to completing the objective and use time to force creative improvements in your efficiency and effectiveness so you always have a great business day.

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