You Only Need Three Words
Everything you need to know about getting a grip on your time is contained in three words.
Eliminate … Delegate … Accelerate
Eliminate: Stop unnecessary or low priority tasks.
Delegate: Give tasks to others.
Accelerate: Become more efficient.
All time management tips either, eliminate, delegate, or accelerate.
10 Time management tips:
- You can’t manage time you can only manage yourself. “One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
- Settle. Some tasks don’t need to be done perfectly, they just need to be done. Don’t write and rewrite an email until it’s worded perfectly. The enemy of progress is perfection.
- Find a rhythm. Personally, I’m more productive if I have few points of predictability during the week. Perhaps it’s lunch with a coach or turning off email for an hour every afternoon.
- Work expands to the time allotted for it. Create smaller time segments. Does a meeting have to take an hour?
- Get done by noon. Prioritize your tasks and determine to complete your priorities by noon. Deadlines create urgency.
- Do the dirty deeds first. Procrastinating drains your energy and distracts your mind. Just get it over with. I’ve frequently noticed the things I don’t want to do take less time than I expect.
- Use the just start rule. Set aside 15 minutes a day to work on a long term goal. Just start it. You may end up working longer but 15 minutes is progress. Progress feels great. “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” Henry Ford.
- Make prioritized check lists. “We can no more afford to spend major time on minor things than we can spend minor time on major things.” – Jim Rohn
Can you add the ninth and tenth time management tips?
Eliminate, delegate and accelerate are really superb words. Progress, urgency, deadlines all depend upon how well managed we are. I agree that we do not manage time, we manage ourselves. Time moves constantly in positive direction. We move in all the directions. So,restricting our movement to only one direction ( desired for goal) is key to organize oneself. I think the ninth and tenth time management tips are perhaps managing our emotions and inertias. They consume our maximum time and still we struggle to manage them. Fear is also the important factor to manage. I believe in managing, doing is more difficult than saying. We have both passion for success and fear of failure. But when we want to succeed, the passion for success should be greater than the fear of failure. However, when the magnitude of fear of failure is more than the passion to succeed, then managing oneself is challenging. So, the focus and concentration of a person should be on strength rather than weakness. It is true that perfection is the enemy to progress because perfection is only imagination not reality. I agree about the statement given by Henry Ford that, nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. Dividing jobs into small job create urgency to meet deadlines. Deadlines make us organized. Deadlines also manage our time. Long term deadlines generally extinguish passion whereas short term deadlines arouse passion.
I also think the busiest person gets time for everything and the laziest person always struggles and complains about not getting time, though he is not doing anything. The people who manage time effectively, manage circumstances effectively and the people who could not manage themselves, perhaps circumstances dominates them.
Thank you for sharing your insights.
I’m taking your reference to emotions with me. You are so right. Our emotions and the emotions of others can be distractors and energy drainers.
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Good one! I suggest something to the effect:
Imagine that it’s time for lunch break and that 3 major things you wanted to get done are completed. How does that feel? Since you have what it takes to make that happen, what will you set aside to concentrate fully on this ?
It could certainly be some variation of this (numbers, timing etc.) but something that asks a question about the impact of completing tasks works wonders for some people.
Love your focus on helping people “complete” tasks. 80% isn’t done.
Thanks for adding value.
It kills me when I work on emergency items all day and task go uncompleted. It is important to keep others working around you on the right things or you will be “drug” in. 🙂
I enjoy using the point system of urgency times when it needs to be done – point system. John Maxwell helped me with this years ago.
Thanks for your post. Looking forward to using it to fine tune our staff next week.
I’m delighted to be useful. And thanks for adding to the conversation.
I’m going to look into the point system. Sounds interesting.
Love the three words. As the “alignment guy” (LOL), I’d like the add one more: “alignment.”
Alignment comes in handy when we are eliminating low-priority tasks. (Let’s keep what’s appropriately aligned with overall direction, and tactical goals, and get rid of the rest.)
Alignment is critical when delegating. (Is this person or team I am delegating to aligned with the spirit of the program, and both strategic and tactical desired outcomes? If not, what do I need to do to encourage or create better alignment?)
Alignment is critical when accelerating. (Whoa, you don’t want to be off-track when at speed! Let’s get oversight and steering aligned, too!)
Placed my vote for your Blog, Dan. Good luck!
Great comment. It’s great to see how useful it is to be aligned with alignment.
I must say, I still can’t use it because it’s not an “ate” word. Deleg”ate.”
Thanks for your vote!
Hahaha… good point… hmmm… and I would have been more appropriate to add “Align” to #9, instead of adding to the word list.
When it comes to time management, I’m for investment as much as anything else. So I guess I’d put “Align” at 9, and “Invest Time wisely to save time” in at #10. In other words: find ways of investing time up front to save time later in your project/sale/communication cycle.
Japanese rule of 10: it takes ten times the effort/tune to fix a mistake than to do it right in the beginning. 🙂
Haha… “tune” should read “time” in the above post. Was typing with a bandaid on my first finger and hit u-n instead of i-m… LOL…
Hahaha, Hey Mark,
Love your comments. Thanks for adding to this useful thread.
I was going to edit your comment and change “tune” to “time” but thought better of it. I enjoy the spontaneity and reality.
Hope your finger is better.
Got the ‘ate’ for you Dan….
allineate and it means align!
You and the team are building a great list Dan. Here are my suggestions for #9 and #10.
9. Just say “No.” – You can not do everything or please everyone. Pass the opportunity to someone else from the beginning. Then you don’t have to eliminate it later. That takes even more time.
10. Elegance. The simple solution to solving a problem or accomplishing a task is often the most time effiicient. Don’t complicate things unnecessarily.
Kudos to you and the LeadershipFreak discussion team. Thanks for all the great tips you share.
Thank you for your encouraging words. You are always helpful to me and I appreciate it.
Just the word elegance lifts my mind and sets a standard of achievement. Love it.
Two more time management tips, let’s see:
1. You know that old time management acronym/tip, OHIO (Only Handle It Once)? That holds a lot of truth, for “paper” and for “electronic” communications. I find myself returning to emails over and over, deciding I am not quite ready to deal with them, and marking them unread, just to find myself staring at them hours or days later. One trainer told me once to put red dots on pieces of paper when I had looked at them and said, “If your desk has measles you know you have a paper management problem” – a cute statement but true!
2. Another common time management tactic that takes deliberate attention to implement is tackling chunks of the things you least want to do FIRST. As you commented when you said that the things you were dreading often ended up taking less time you anticipated, it’s true too for the big hairy tasks that it is tempting to put off – taking even a chunk out of them helps neutralize the dread.
GREAT! I’m using OHIO right now by not waiting to reply to you! Thanks
I love reading your comments. Thanks for adding value and helping others.
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9) Make time for reflection. When the mind can relax, it can see farther and deeper.
Ka Ching… I totally agree. Go for a walk, talk a break, turn on some music and sit back
#9 Find what works for YOU. Trying to adhere to someone else’s time management tricks doesn’t always work. Figure out when YOU’RE most productive and alert, and schedule your uninterrupted time for then. Turn off the phone, cut off access to Facebook, twitter and blogs (sorry Dan!), and set a timer.
Great stuff. I couldn’t agree more! I’m an early morning guy. I used to be a night owl. Gotta go with it.
No Problem…I think we need to turn stuff off so we can turn on our productivity.
This is a great reminder, Susan. Very practical and personal (two elements of effectiveness)
Very good article. It is so easy to get wrapped up in a project that you become non productive more than productive. I wrote and article once
‘Stop, Evaluate and Prioritize’ ! It is so important to just stop, get a breath and evaluate what is important.
Interesting that a theme of “stopping” is emerging. Perhaps our frustrations with too much to do is coming through…
Thanks for jumping in!
Great post Dan! There’s a lot of value here.
Throwing in a concept from Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working:
“Instead of managing time, manage your energy and schedule it in time.” I see a direct tie-in to Eliminating, Delegating, and Accelerating.
Thanks for adding value. Alerting readers to Tony Schwartz is useful.
Love the idea of managing your energy. As others have noted, use your most productive time to get your most important work done.
Fake it till you make it –
When the list is waaaay toooo loooong, and I’m feeling really discouraged and unproductive, picking just 3 things I must get done today and focusing on them first (not my idea from Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less) helps me start to feel productive again. It almost always leads to getting more than those three things done.
Thanks for joining the conversation.
I couldn’t agree more. Getting a few things done is energy to get more done. However, doing everything at once drains and defeats us.
Dan, your #8 mentions prioritization – one thought I try to keep in mind is that the principle behind weekly planning is to schedule your priorities, not to prioritize your schedule.
Way to coin a phrase… nice.
I can take it down to one: prioritize.
There’s no such thing as time management. There are only priorities. Everyone has 168 hours per week and the things that are priorities get done.
Thanks for jumping in…easily said and hard done!
Great seeing you.
Some good tips but I strongly disagree with number 2. A badly worded email can come back & bite you on the bum & cause a lot of wasted time & energy. I would recommend checking & checking again before sending an important email. Check my comments on communication on my blog: http://www.projectsguru.co.uk/blog/
Thanks for joining the conversation.
We’ve all experienced the sting of sending an incomplete email that created more trouble than it worth.
Thanks for the reminder and the link.
Excellent post, Dan! Time management is so crucial, and determines your level of productivity and accomplishment. This is something I’ve certainly struggled a lot with, but I’m getting there. 🙂 One thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to be realistic about your tasks, the time it will take you to complete them, and how much time you have overall. It’s so easy to load up your to-do list with thirty-plus tasks for the day, but that’s overwhelming, unrealistic, and sets you up for failure. It’s also important to just learn how to say “no.” It’s hard not to over-commit when so many of us have a million things on our plate, but you either have the time for something or you don’t. Nothing is worth working yourself to death. Be realistic with your schedule and yourself, and you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more.
Thank you for commenting.
My first thought is time management systems should probably be called productivity/accomplishment systems. I think its good to focus on the deliverable – productivity rather than the process. “Begin with the end in mind.”
You voice is the voice of reason. It’s common to over estimate what can get done and under estimate the time it will take. Well said.
Dan, A good word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I always try and remember………….”Delegate of Drown”. Also I would add “effective” to “Accelerate”. Blessings, Howie
Yup, your comment is a good word. 🙂
Allow…allow time to recognize patterns of your productivity and methods that lead to time wasted. Often if we simply take time to evaluate once a week, month, or quarter and focus on seeing what worked, we can adjust and realize a happier, more productive life when we figure out who and what we are not.
Nicely said Sweetie,
You remind me of one of John Spence’s awewsomely simple ideas: “Pattern Recognition.”
Thanks for joining the conversation,
You can always learn new things about time management and I love your Tip #2 – Settle. Not everything has to be perfect. In fact, perfectionism is the enemy of time management.
For #9, I would add write down your creative thoughts when you have them! Structured tasks work well with structured techniques. Yet creative pursuits often need a “grab the moment” approach to be successful. I have creative thoughts about one thing when doing something else. I have learned to capture thoughts as they come — whether they are about my current “to do” or not.
Kate — like the ‘capture the creative thought’ suggestion. Keep working on the structured task, but write down the extraneous creative thoughts so you don’t lose them.
Synchronizing/aligning your energy level with your prioritized tasks, is a great time saver.
I couldn’t agree more, especially ’cause this is really similar to what I wrote in one of my latest blog posts.
Being able to set priorities planning things ahead and delegating tasks that don’t necessarily require your undivided attention. Hard to learn, but priceless.
Late to the dance…
I like #4, very odd how that works, nature and bureaucracies abhor vacuums.
I like the concept of starting at 10 minutes til or even 17 minutes past to shift the set patterns. Of course, others may have trouble wrapping their heads around it, but it does change things up.
Also like working, with intent, to end a meeting early and ‘give back’ time.
I once had a grad school professor in my educational leadership program that said he had a sign on his desk that read, “Move toward the pain” to remind him to do those “dirty deeds” from #6 first—return that phone call that you’re avoiding, tackle that report that you’re dreading, or address that employee discipline situation that you keep putting off—just to name a few. Every time I spend the morning worrying about something that I know I need to do (but don’t want to), that phrase pops into my head and nudges me to stop spending so much energy avoiding that difficult task. The tips on this post are also great reminders. I’ve been in a productive rut the last month and this has given me the kick in the pants that I’ve needed to get me refocused. Thank you, Dan!
Grouping tasks and working in blocks of time works well. I find when I group admin tasks, marketing tasks and customer related tasks etc I get more done because I have the same mindset for each group of tasks instead of switching the thought processes like a roller coaster.