By Lisa Philp, RDH, CMC / Transitions North America
Time management is defined as a way to find the time for all the things you want and need to get accomplished. It helps you decide
which things will get done now and which tasks can wait. Learning how to manage your time, activities, and commitments is prioritization; making the habit to focus on the most relevant and important things first.
A common time management trap many people fall into is getting to the end of the day and not knowing where the time went. They overestimate the amount of time they have available OR underestimate the amount of time each activity takes to complete, and become overcommitted.
An effective way to organize the To-do list of many things that must be accomplished in a day is to analyze our tasks, map out a plan to complete projects with timeframes and, then, analyze what are the URGENT activities or tasks that demand immediate attention today and are related to deadlines in the moment.
IMPORTANT activities or tasks are specifically related to your job functions and acting on them directly at the right time contributes to the effectiveness and success of the team, as well as to your own professional goals and accomplishments.
Once the task, project or commitment has been defined it is then placed into one of the Urgent/important categories as a guide to the sequence of how to allocate your energy and time.
- Urgent and Important. Our #1 priorities and have a high price to pay if not done. They include key projects with tight deadlines, patients with serious concerns, pressing financial deadlines, major unresolved conflict with co-worker, last minute crises, and medical emergencies. Do these FIRST.
- Important But Not Urgent. Usually the greatest amount of your time is usually spent on these: daily tasks and activities, routine interaction with clients, day-to-day relationships, revising team meeting agenda, taking a course, new marketing approaches, work planning, organization and meetings, health, exercise, recreation. Do these SECOND…
- Urgent but Not Important. Little or no contribution to company/ your goals. May not be the best use of your time. No serious damage or fallout from missed deadline. Low value interruptions. Other examples include: “pressing” matters unrelated to your work, or of low value to team, deadlines for popular, non-strategic activities, non-essential activities and events (mail, reports, meetings, calls.)
- Not Important, Not Urgent. Few, if any, benefits from doing these. Reduce, eliminate or do enjoyable ones outside of work time: trivia, meetings unrelated to your work, busy work and time-wasting activities, enjoyable, unproductive activities, reading junk mail, etc.
The discipline of prioritizing tasks and activities helps you to decide which are most important to you without procrastination, putting things off until the last minute or missing deadlines because you’ve over-committed.
Lisa Philp is the President for Transitions Group North America and may be contacted at www.transitionsonline.com or firstname.lastname@example.org