Top Time Management Tools – the Eight D’s of Time Management
by Jacquie Wise
There are times when you have so much to do that there seems to be no end in sight and you feel powerless and you really need some top time management tools.
In my book ‘Career Comeback’ I talk about various aspects of time management.
So here’s a concept that may help when you feel you’re drowning in too many commitments.
It’s a catchy way to take back your power. There are no ‘shoulds’ or ‘shouldn’ts’—there are only choices.
That means taking the time to plan, to set priorities, to decide which of the choices below best apply to each task on your list. The remaining Ds are not in any particular order. You choose!
This can mean:
- Doing something less often. Would it really add to your problems if you reduced the frequency or the time you spend in a certain activity, or with certain people?
- Doing something more often. Tasks like filing or weeding become smaller jobs if done more often in small stages.
- Reducing the task so that there’s less to do. For instance, redesigning a garden with natives and ground-cover to minimise weeding, care and watering.
- Doing it faster. It may be worth investing in appliances that will help you get through the task faster or more effectively. (Perhaps you can persuade the family to contribute towards it for your birthday, or perhaps it’s a tax deduction).
The test of a good gadget is: does it reduce your workload, or add to it? A sophisticated food processor may chop and mix things faster, but what about the time it takes to assemble it or wash it and put it away? If it’s still practical given those considerations, then it’s worth it.
Have you fallen into the common trap of thinking it’s quicker to do things yourself rather than teach someone else, only to have them do it wrong? Teaching someone may slow you down initially, but at least the job will be shared or taken over in the longer term.
Another way to delegate is to pay someone to do it. This doesn’t have to be on a regular basis if you can’t afford it. What about investing in someone on a one-off basis, to maybe get rid of the task in one hit?
This is not the same as delaying indefinitely! To prevent procrastination, it is essential to have a deadline in mind, when you’ll pick it up again.
Decide to defer the task for a specific length of time, say one month, while you finish something else. Then make it your top priority, perhaps deferring some other task while you get ahead on this one. This is how well-organised people manage to keep up to date with several priorities at once; they simply rotate them at regular intervals, each time moving them forwards.
6 Double up
For everything you do, think of something else you could do at the same time.
While you’re in the shower, why not clean the recess? You’re getting wet anyway.
Listen to educational audio recordings while driving your car or doing manual work; do the ironing while watching TV.
This doesn’t mean you never allow yourself time to relax—it means using time effectively so that you have more time to do nothing BUT relax.
Doubling up also means preparing an alternative activity you could do if something prevents you from doing the one planned. Have a back-up task prepared; the change of plan then becomes an ideal opportunity.
For this one, you might have to be ruthless. Grit your teeth, take a deep breath and get rid of all those half-finished projects. You may have invested a lot of money on equipment, or time getting to that stage, but is it really worth investing any more? Consider the stress it’s causing you. If you haven’t got around to it by now, will you ever? If your decision is ‘yes’, then use one of the other Ds to decide how you’ll approach it. If ‘no’, then for goodness sake offload it.
And offload any guilt that goes with it.
Thinking about it and pressuring yourself over it won’t achieve anything. Doing it gets it done. If it’s not something you can do all at once, make a plan—make a start—do a part of it—but do it.
Maybe it’s time to review the commitments you have to see which of the eight D top time management tools you could apply to each.
I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve said here.
You can give me your feedback, ask a question by email or post a comment below.
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