There’s a law that seems to exist when it comes to managing your time…
Parkinson law: tasks take as long as you give them!
The Problem: not making the most of your time
This is not an exact science, but have you ever had a day when you’ve been incredibly busy but got everything done? Then a few weeks later, you only have 3-4 things to do… but it still takes you all day to get them done? Welcome to Parkinson’s law.
The Plan: a clear and realistic to do list
I have certainly learnt that if have a to do list of 20 items, focusing on a few at a time will mean I just dabble, get distracted and finish only a few with average quality. So the plan is to write my to do list the night before (important not to look at emails first thing in the morning as that’s a distraction!), and always start with the biggest most important one first thing. Ask yourself, if I only did 1 thing from my to do list today, what item would mean I feel I have achieved something? Do that one first and do not stop until it’s done.
Now for those who think “but this piece of work cannot be done in a day!”… well break down that task into manageable chunks, ideally 3-4 hour worth of quality work. OK, so now you have that BIG chunky piece that once you have finished it, you’ll feel good about yourself and your day.
The Result: attention management
If you assume that money has no actual value without time, because income is renewable, while time is not. Therefore time has no value without your attention. So instead of just focusing on time management, focus on attention management. Do one thing at a time and give your full attention to what you’re doing. If you’ve selected the right priorities, that the road to success.
To quote Tim Ferris: Recognizing you can’t fix an overwhelmed feeling with more work. Overwhelmed is not due to lack of time – it’s due to lack of priorities. When somebody says that they work all the time, they never have a minute off, and they’re constantly checking their Blackberry, I think, “You’re really not in control of your life, are you?”