Avoid these common time management mistakes

Fall is upon us! With summer having come to a close, your schedule is back in full swing. Now is the time to reevaluate your time management approach to make sure you end 2015 achieving your goals. Make the most of your time, work efficiently and smart, and avoid these all too common time management mistakes.

  1. Skipping prioritization - Sure, that expense report is easier to complete than the comprehensive sales strategy you promised to create, but the expense report won’t move you as far towards your goals. During your most productive times of the day, focus on your most important tasks.
  1. Failing to set daily goals - Be realistic and formulate your daily goals based on your weekly and monthly goals. Always leave room for flexibility, you never know when that elusive client will call with a special request.
  1. Succumbing to distraction - Ever spent the day checking email, reading the news, or surfing the internet instead of working? We all have. No doubt you will get distracted throughout the day, however, it is essential to set aside times when you shut off your email, close your internet browser and tuck away your phone. After your work is complete, reward yourself with a 10 minute internet session.
  1. Neglecting to take breaks - Far too often, I have tried to work through the day without stopping. I end up being less productive, and more stressed. Take time to recharge, grab a coffee or go for a short walk. I think you’ll find these breaks help make your day more enjoyable, and more productive.
  1. Multi-tasking - On paper it sounds like a good idea, but in reality it produces less than stellar results. Check out this article on why you should start single tasking.
  1. Failing to reevaluate your schedule - When you start your day, take time to look at your schedule and run through your goals. If you no longer need a meeting, cancel it. This will help you prioritize, schedule breaks, set daily goals and avoid having to multitask. If you are flexible, you’ll be better equipped to handle the unexpected client call at 4:45pm on Friday.

Hopefully, being aware of these common time management blunders will increase your productivity and help you close out those 2015 goals!

Closing The Execution Gap

Jesus was very clear on His mission, and no person, crisis or circumstance was able to get Him off line. Do you have clarity about what your goals and top priorities are? If not, then your work force is diluted. You will find that your energy is dissipated, flying off in multiple directions—being swallowed up by the “black hole” of confusion and misalignment. The inability to take the organization’s high level priorities and translate them into productive behaviors is a problem. Ram Charan and Steven Covey call this “the execution gap”.

Simply put, what is alignment? Alignment exists when there is agreement on the goals of the organization and the process of allocating resources to achieve those goals. It reflects the ownership of team members. There is commitment, not just consensus. The systems and structures must support the strategic vision. And members must understand how top strategic objectives translate into personal goals.

A study by the Harris Group reveals astonishing statistics why execution breaks down.

  1. Only 15% of those surveyed can identify their organizations most important top priorities or goals. There are various reason for this. They either didn’t have any, or they constantly changed, or there were too many. Where they did exist they were simply under communicated. In many cases the leaders were clear, but the rank and file were unsure. And since the frontline produces the bottom line, the problem is obvious.
  2. Only 19% felt passionate about their organizations goals. Four in five felt no ownership. Since they’ve had no say in the process, the product—or goal—was not embraced. If there’s no connection, then there’s no involvement, which means there is no commitment. The process is as important as the product.

People embrace what they help create.

  1. People spend only 49% of available work hours on their most important goals. Most of the time was spent on the urgent activities and not the important ones. Distraction is a major time waster. Emergencies always steal the limelight if priorities are not absolutely clear.
  2. 51% did not know what they should be doing to achieve the organizations goals. They knew the goals but didn’t know how to translate that into productive execution. People need to know, not only the goal, but also where they fit in the plan and how they can execute.

Clarifying your goals and priorities closes the execution gap and results in productive behavior.

To achieve things you’ve never achieved before you need to start doing things you’ve never done before.

That happens when you align your daily activities and behaviors with compelling priorities.  There is a power unleashed in your life, both personally and professionally when you have a clear and compelling understanding where you are going.

So how do you know if you have a compelling vision? Rate yourself on the following with a (3) for “yes”, (2) for “sometimes”, and a (1) for “no.”

  • Everyone on my team shares the same vision.
  • Our vision excites, inspires, and motivates us.
  • Our vision helps us understand why our activities are important.
  • Our vision provides guidelines that help us make daily decisions and identify priorities.
  • Our vision creates a clear picture of what we intend to accomplish.

How did you do? Now that you know where you are, you can make the appropriate changes.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.” - Peter Drucker

Closing the gap between priorities and performance will help create the future you want, and we need!