Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The World's Shortest Course in Time Management

Write a personal mission statement. That helps you decide what prioritize.

My personal mission statement is "Make as big a difference as possible regarding career advice, education advice, men's issues, gifted kids, exposing higher education as America's most overrated product, and encouraging an honest national conversation about race."

Have a time-conscious voice on your shoulder. I'm always asking myself, "Is this a good use of my time?" and "Am I doing this in the most time-effective way?"

Avoid time sucks. For example, could you get out of attending that meeting, especially a standing meeting? Also, of course, watch for after-work time sucks: TV watching, golf, trekking to a relative's bar mitzvah.

Delegate. It's often worth delegating even if the task won't be done as well. That frees you up to do other more profitable or pleasurable activities.

Hire a personal assistant. Even a few hours a week at $10 an hour will buy you significant time you could use more profitably than doing your laundry or getting your car's oil changed.

Get observed. Not sure how to get more time-efficient? Get someone who gets a lot done to watch you for an hour or more.

Class dismissed. Anyone wish this "world's shortest course" were longer? Want to suggest a tip I should have added?


Jeff Shore said...

I have a post-it note on my computer monitor where I've written the question, "What is the pay-off on what I am doing right now?" It keeps me from wasting time on less-than-important tasks.

Clare said...

Great tips to productivity.

I think I'd add - make yourself accountable. It's all very well knowing what to do but actually doing it can be somewhat different! Telling someone else or working with someone to hold you accountable can help give that added motivation.


Shweta said...

Great short tips and very effective too..
Jeff I loved the idea of your post-it, I usually have them with a to-do list but this seems more effective - a self-guilt inflicter to keep me on track.. but what if I get in the habit to ignore it..

Marty Nemko said...

Shweta, if you really want to change, you must resist getting into "the habit of ignoring it." It comes down to self-discipline.

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