Successful people are busy people. With career and personal goals stacked up high, and an agenda a mile long, fitting in one more responsibility can be a huge task. People on the fast track to excellence will often get crunched seven days a week. Common place are calls from clients, co-workers and associates to put out fires. Additionally, communication from a spouse, kids, friends or other family members must become a priority even when dealing with a filled work schedule. Being self employed, I am constantly talking to my friends and family about the benefits of self employment. You see, I get to pick which 18 hours a day I work. Yes, I am busy too.
So, with so many responsibilities coming from so many different directions, time management is essential. While time management is challenging in general, time management for extremely busy people comes with its own set of challenges.
Here are 6 time management techniques for extremely busy people:
Say "NO"- While sometimes an easy thing to say, often times saying the word "No!" can be troublesome. A friend, coworker, or especially a family member is hard to turn away. But in order to stay on your path, learn to embrace the word. Although it has only two letters, getting the word out of your mouth is difficult if you feel like you are hurting someone's feelings or are trying to be nice. Try this sentence. "I appreciate you coming to me with this project (issue, problem, situation, etc) and I would really like to help, but now is not a great time for my schedule. If I get a chance to revisit it, I will.
Prioritize Your To-Do List - Before you go to sleep or first thing when your head is clear in the morning, go through your schedule (I know you keep a schedule) and prioritize the list. Don't get into your day without a clear roadmap of what you will need to get done. It's little victories like crossing off a to-do from the list that will drive you harder towards the finish line on your list.
Delegate - The most successful time managers are those that learn how to delegate properly. A great leadership trait is understanding when to hold on to a responsibility and when to delegate it. You will never be able to do it all on your own. The sooner you realize this, the closer you will get to effectively managing your time.
Don't Micromanage - Extremely busy people are generally very successful people. You will need to resist the urge to manage all of the project details you have going on in your life. Once a project task is given to someone else, do not circle back and micromanage the project. Certainly, follow up to verify the project is moving forward, but do not live by the motto, "If it's going to be done right, I've got to do it."
The Small Stuff - Extremely busy people are their own worst critics. Stop beating yourself up over the small stuff. Sure, it's important that the task gets completed properly and professionally, but don't get caught up in the minute details and never second guess yourself about the small stuff. Chances are great that you completed the task with excellence. Make a mental note, and next time this type of task is to be tackled, you will know what you need to do.
Refresh - Seriously, it's 1AM, do you think you are quite as sharp as you were at 11AM? Take a break. There is nothing more challenging than trying to accomplish a task while burning the late, late, late night oil. Your brain needs to refresh and your body could use a break as well. Did I mention the importance of eating your meals at a table and not from behind a steering wheel? You know I am talking to you. Every once in a while, I accept that you are too busy to slow down and eat at a table, but not everyday.
There will come a time in your schedule when you will not be as busy. Try your best to savor those moments when they happen. Just because you are not moving at a million miles an hour does not mean you are lazy. There is more to life than just arriving at your destination; enjoy the journey.
We all know busy people too, please feel free to share this blog with them as well. Thanks for helping me make the world a bit nicer and more manageable, one blog at a time.