It has come to our attention that everyone has the same number of hours in their day, and that number is 24. Not exactly an earth-shattering statement but for many people who constantly crave an extra hour or two each day, it does represent reality.
Living in the age of instant gratification, where everything needs to happen this instant, puts enormous pressure on people to complete as many tasks as they can in the shortest time possible. This quite often is at the expense of some thought that would perhaps contribute to a better result in the long run. We have somehow lowered ourselves into believing that the greater our output, the greater our success. Quality seems to have slipped, or even disappeared at the hands of quantity.
How is it then that some people can appear to move mountains of paper and still have time for other activities, while on the other hand others are burning the proverbial midnight oil to move everything from A to B?
In many cases the answer is simple – it is all down to planning and organization. Even the simplest task needs a planned approach. Just rushing at an activity in order to get it completed is often not the best approach. It is also true that some tasks, if left to rest for a while, in fact solve themselves and require little or no response.
Planning your day and knowing what you want to achieve, and in what time frame, is absolutely crucial and is something that needs to be undertaken on a day-by-day basis. There are plenty of books, publications and inspired papers on the art of time management – and they certainly have something to contribute – however each individual will have a different approach geared to their own needs, timetable and ability.
Therefore, at the beginning of each day one should look at the tasks ahead and determine what will be completed today and what can be deferred for a later time. Having made that determination, it is then imperative to write that down so that it becomes the to-do list for the day. Writing them down will focus your mind on completing the tasks, and dealing with the achievements, in the appropriate order of priority.
If your day really does not have enough hours – or perhaps it should be work hours – then it’s not the day that is lacking, but rather the volume of work that needs to be completed. Sometimes the workload is without doubt greater than one person’s ability and, as such, an obvious solution must be found. If on the other hand the workload is comparable to others, then perhaps it comes back to the organization and planning of the day. Always remember that organization incorporates prioritization in dealing with what has to be done rather than dealing with what is easiest to be done.
Procrastination is much easier than planning and, when in doubt, so many of us opt for the former. There is probably nothing inherently wrong with procrastination providing we have prioritized the tasks for the day, and the ones we choose to defer or even ignore are those that fall at the bottom of the priority list.
Delegation is not a dirty word – there is no reason why we should not delegate more than we do, other than the fear that it will reflect badly on us. Often sharing the workload makes us believe that we are losing control of the big picture, so we tend to do everything ourselves which, in turn, creates a work overload. Delegating to team members is an appropriate approach to getting the job done, and certainly not a sign of weakness in an individual. This is not to say that one delegates everything and ends up with nothing, but rather that there is a sensible and equitable prioritization and sharing the results is a win – win situation for all involved.
Do I have time for this? Well if you have in fact read this far in, you do have time for this and you should continue to make time to read and review as that, in turn, will give you a better insight into your own time management. There are only so many hours in the day – the key is to make the very best use of each and every one.
David Banfield is the President of The Interface Financial Group, a position that he has held for over 20 years. He has been instrumental in starting Interface as a franchise opportunity and building it to its current international status. Prior to his involvement with Interface, he worked extensively in the banking, credit and factoring financial service areas.