One day in our life can be seen as a suitcase, of the same size as anyone else’s suitcase. The same suitcase, but some people can keep more things in it than others. The reason is: they know what items to keep, and how to keep them nicely. So “time management” is in fact “self-management”, and we can learn how to do it so to choose the important tasks, and carry them out most efficiently. To manage ourselves better, we must avoid making these three mistakes.
1. Do what others want us to do: As leaders, we want to make a difference, create influence, or develop relationships to achieve our personal or organizational goals. Because of this reason, sometimes we tend to waste our time doing something others expect us to do (such as helping them solve their problems). The result is, we are always busy but not very effective, because most of our time is spent on unimportant tasks.
2. Do unimportant tasks: How to be sure that what we are doing is important and worth the time and effort? The below formula can help us assess the priority.
Step 1: Assess the importance of the task (I)
Categorize the tasks into 5 levels (according to the score of 1 to 5) as follows: (i) Very important and necessary to do (5 points), (ii) Important (4 points), (iii) Slightly important (3 points), (iv) Necessary (2 points), (v) Not important (1 point).
Step 2: Assess the urgency of the task (U)
Need to complete by This month = 5 points
Need to complete by Next month = 4 points
Need to complete by This quarter = 3 points
Need to complete by Next quarter = 2 points
Need to complete by This year = 1 point
Step 3: Multiply (I) and (U), we will arrive at three different priority levels
Level A (16-25 points): Very important tasks that need to be completed by this month
Level B (9-15 points): Important tasks that need to be completed by this quarter
Level C (1-8 points): Unimportant tasks that need to be completed by this year
We must take important note that in the list of a leader’s tasks, there should not be any (or should have very few) tasks that need to be done within today or this week. The reason is, the leaders need to see further than everyone else, and need to plan the strategies at least 1 month in advance, sometimes even 6 months or 1 year. Otherwise, we will always be unprepared and chasing after problems or crises.
3. Do something we have not been trained or taught to do: There’s a saying: whatever we have done can be done better. If training and development is crucial for employees, it’s even more crucial for leaders. That’s why we need to choose to do something that helps us:
Increase our personal value
Maximize our strengths
Be more effective in coaching and mentoring
Add value to others
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