The 3 minute time manager: How effective, efficient business practices start with good personal time management systems
If you’re struggling to perform at your best due to being time poor or lacking work life balance, it is certainly true that the work we do at Accede in building effective database solutions will support your drive to be more efficient.
However, after reflecting on the many business owners, boards and managers we’ve worked with over the years, I can tell you that your best systems for success start WITHIN.
I believe that if you spend the next three minutes reading these thoughts, you should find some keys for unlocking the binds that are holding you back.
My time doing ‘time management’
Why should I be writing about time management? It’s because I live it and refine it every day, and have been doing so for almost four decades.
Here are the things I’ve ‘managed’ being or doing thanks to my systems:
- Single mother
- SME owner with 34 years experience employing staff and servicing businesses
- Property developer
- Property owner and landlord for holiday and permanent rental properties
- President of a large community based organisation with more than 17,000 active members
- Full time Puppy Educator for the Royal Society of the Blind
- Physical mum to a university-based son
- Host mum to three international boys
- Active Christian
And despite this ‘reasonably’ full plate, I have still kept time to focus on my health and ‘bounce’ into work each day with a smile (while still experiencing the ups and downs that all of us endure).
The vital work of Time Management
My time management skill has not appeared overnight but rather has been learned by reading, practice and application.
It began with the 1 minute manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. I applied the ideas from this book in management and in life.
I also skilled up, including:
- Learning to type
- De-cluttering everything about my life
- Using useful tools
- Communicating succinctly
- Applying the Hedgehog principle (The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing)
I do feel that there are no crumbs of time on my table of life and this matters to me because I have one life and I want to do the most I can with it.
For example, before I leave home each morning I’ve reviewed by day and communications, had a cup of tea in bed and some private time with my husband, made lunches, dressed, prepared a guide dog to go to work. After dropping a boy to school I arrive at my office, greet my staff and check in on any important issues they’re facing and then settle in for my day’s actual work, all by 9.15am
The rest of the day is then clear for running my business and earning an income.
How to be time efficient in business
While applying time management to your business life is most likely to succeed if you share my core principles of tidiness and inner drive, there are certain tools I find essential:
- An active task List
- Act upon decisions, e.g. an email comes in, read it as soon as it is timely to do so, and then decide to act upon it, store it or delete it immediately
- Use IT tools that help, e.g. I use office 365 exchange so my emails can be read and accessed on my phone or computer allowing me to complete actions on the road
- Refuse ‘junk’ mail, e.g. certain schools started sending me time-wasting information but after I clearly informed them they should stop or send nothing, they all restricted emailing to only important information
- Keep social media for personal use, and employ other people to perform social media tasks for business purposes
- Delegate, e.g. understand the importance of your time and skill so if a junior can do a job like find an image for this blog, give it to them
- Make time for friends but don’t get drawn into being abused by ‘users’, who can appear in private and business circles; seek out ‘winners’ to work and associate with
- Allocate time for specific functions and stick to it, e.g. time for visiting family, walking and working out, preparing meals, shopping, etc.
- Challenge rules and share the house duties, e.g. I expect my family to each pull their own weight such as having one of my boys set the table
- Build proficiency and speed in key tasks, e.g. almost all of my meals are made from base products and prepared, cooked and on the table in 1 hour or less
- Multitask whenever possible, e.g. cook a roast and do the ironing at the same time
Finally, take time for yourself to stop, read a book, smell the roses, review and enjoy life.
Now your 3 minutes are up and hopefully you have some hints and Ideas, and some references to explore.
It is your life, you only have the one chance to use it well.
Will you be happy that you have lived the best life you can?