Romance is in the air whether it be for known loved ones, those with their heart on their sleeve for another or those looking at their business and where they would like it to be! Unlike the first two, unless you have a plan for your businesses to actually take it where you want it to be, then, alas oh romantic ones, that’s all it will be, romance!

So where are we in the world of commerce! Well, in the UK at least, the CBI are predicting growth of 0.9% for 2012, woo-hoo, but this is off-set with the BDO continuing to predict turnover will fall and the CIPD have stated that employers are still more likely to be laying off staff… however, this may indicate losing some fat which means the leaner, sharper people remain (not in every case mind you) and that doesn’t necessarily mean companies won’t do better!

Coaching to Success has found that with the potential of having less staff, or attempting to grow with the workforce on board (even if that just means yourself), an area that most of us can benefit from is, as (not so) subtly indicated in the header, TIME MANAGEMENT… that illusive beast which always manages to slip away quietly taking a handful of time for the ‘should do’ jobs along with it! How do we conquer this un-seen thief of time? We insure we don’t allow it in.

There are a myriad of things we can do, exercises to complete etc etc but, quite simply, the word ‘Manage’ is the critical factor and by managing it, you take the control back.

Here at Coaching to Success, we use one easy tip that, if followed, helps manage the day-to-day items. This being a ‘TO-DO’ list… do I hear “Hmm, done that, nothing new there, doesn’t work for me!”, well that’s because it hasn’t been managed and remember, that’s the key.

  • Set a time, the same time, every day to do the next 24hr listing. Some prefer this to be the first job of the day, others wrap the day up with this as the start with items that haven’t been done or know they have to do.
  • In no particular order, line by line, write down what needs to be done with open brackets at the end of each item. For clarity, try to keep each item on one line.
  • Once your list is complete, in the bracketed area, write the time you will start that task, dash, and the time you will complete it. This timing ‘has’ to be realistic, if you’re sure it will take an hour, don’t think you can do it in 45 minutes.
  • Allow some overspill time, inevitably you will have interruptions by colleagues, phones, those ‘must be done now’ things etc. and this blank time allows you not only to catch up but insures you don’t give up doing your list each day as you’ll see each day, you’re completing more.
  • And a means of visually seeing it’s been completed, this is very important as it gives that mental reward for doing it. This can be by drawing a small box to one side with, once the timing had been sorted, the order number for each item, when complete, fill it in, others may choose to draw a single line once done whereas others may like to use a highlight pen or completely obliterate the item with the biggest permanent marker pen they can find… whatever works for you.

Several factors have been taken care of here. (1) Each day you set about writing your tasks which creates a new habit. (2) Important tasks are given a time to start, not just ‘complete by’ which often gets missed and thus focuses your attentions. (3) You start to incorporate those tasks you keep putting off that started small and are now getting bigger as you keep putting them off (Brian Tracy ‘Eat that Frog’ is a good book on this subject!) and (4) you’re managing your time more effectively meaning you’ll actually achieve more each day, week, year, millennium (OK, you get the idea).

We have other time-management tools which can be used in coaching sessions so if time-management, whether it be yourself, your team or your business as a whole is an area that can be improved, simply contact us to arrange an informal meeting to see if we can help and we can offer a proposal should this be the case.