Brainstorming Working

There’s an old saying that goes something like this:

It’s not how long it is … it’s how you use it.

Yes, this is a euphemism for something else.

And, it also applies to your day.

Invest in Time … because they aren’t making any more of it.

Yes, this is another euphemism.

Guess what? Everyone has the same amount every single day.

With that said there are a few tips and tricks you can use to get some of that time back. So that you can, at least, from your perception and perspective get more time in your day.

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. ~ Steve Jobs

Tip #1 – Just Say No!

A post I wrote a few years back entitled “The Response You are Searching for is NO” is right in line with the title of this post. When you can say no you can get time back on your calendar. There is an art to saying no.

Learn to say No like a Pro.

First. Say It Like You Mean It.

  • State the facts – Just accepting something is not acceptable.
  • Repeat – Repeat your NO as many times as necessary.
  • Resist – Resist the urge to imply you might do what is being asked.

Tip #2 – Employ the Four D’s

What are the 4D’s?

  1. Dump
  2. Delay
  3. Delegate
  4. Do

As harsh as it might seem you should apply the 4D’s in order.

Remember: Everyone has the same number of hours in the day. Using the 4D’s can help you properly put things into the right bucket of prioritization. Some things are not yours to do or even consider. Some things are not urgent. Someone else’s urgency may not be an urgent matter for you. Depending upon the request … ask yourself … Can this be delegated? And, when you deem it important enough you can agree to do something.

If you are looking for when to DO something you may want to consider these 4D’s from a 2005 Tasks and Time Management in Outlook blog post.

Tip #3 – Own Your Calendar

What I mean by this is take a close look at what is on your calendar and decide what is really important. You can stack rank them with an ABC type scenario. Where A is the most important and C’s may never make it to the top of the list. Then you can employ the 4D’s to decide what you can dump, what you can delegate, what you can delay, and finally what you were willing to do.

Owning and managing your calendar effectively is one of the most important skills you can use. Whether you are just starting your career or have been at it a few years. When you manage your calendar wisely you will stand out in your career. Your calendar is the way you decide where and how you’ll spend you time. Your calendar (in effect) determines your career path. Which means … YOU chouse your career path by owning your calendar. Choose wisely.

Fact: Everyone Has a Boss

No matter where you are in an organization whether you’re the boss or whether you are an employee you’ll have someone to report to. That someone could be a Board of Directors, or that someone could be a manager, or that someone could be your spouse / significant other. The point is … everyone has some level accountability to others.

Fact: Anything Worthwhile Takes Time

Be realistic with your time commitments

Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them. ~ Henry Ford

Even if you think a task will take just a few minutes, the reality is it might take several hours to truly complete. You have to ask yourself do you realistically have several hours to commit to that task.

Bonus Tip #4 – Apply Brutal Honesty

While it may not be pleasant or fun to decline certain things the fact is you only have the exact same amount of time in your day that everyone else does. Choose your time commitments wisely. Be aggressive with your schedule. And encourage the people you work with to the same with their schedules. Also, apply this philosophy when requesting other peoples time. Be brutally honest with yourself and with others.

Together, we can “make” more time in our day.

Not An Excuse

Using these tips is not a glorified excuse. These tips are not designed to allow people to get out of doing work or doing their job. It’s really just about making the most out of the same amount of time that everyone has and using it for maximum impact and effect.

Note: If you happen to be one of those people that takes far too much joy in saying no to everything — perhaps you’re onto something or perhaps you’re just a overly aggressive control freak. This post is not for you.

Closing and a Mea Culpa

The opening line was provocative on purpose. The fact of the matter is that everyone has the same amount of time every single day. We can’t make it longer. We can just make better use of it.

I hope the tips and factoids above can be put to use for you. If you have other ideas or suggestions and time management please feel free to share them in the comments.