It maybe startlingly obvious but good time management is an essential ingredient to increasing productivity and profitability.
In an age when we are expected to process information at an ever-increasing rate it is easy to either bury yourself in admin, operate in fire fighting mode, or do everything just in the nick of time. Not great for stress levels or getting things right first time.
Good time management is just another thing to put on the To Do List – and so if we are not careful it gets binned!
So when I was asked to work with a recently promoted employee and she described herself as an “as it happens” sort of person. I thought, what a great term.
Indeed an as it happens sort of person, I would describe as someone who takes things in their stride, is flexible adaptable and easy-going, which are all great qualities to possess.
However conversely it also indicative of someone who does not like to plan, organise and probably as a result, puts themselves under a huge amount of unnecessary stress and are often too busy for their own good. It certainly was in this particular case.
What was interesting about this particular client, who I will call Susan, was their underlying almost subconscious perception, (and I suspect many others of us share this) that planning and being very organised can be a little bit restrictive, small-minded and even obsessive.
Just because we do not have anyone telling us to plan, for example, in our home environment, we don’t spend time planning ahead, often to our detriment. The result is we end up rushing around like a headless chicken, packing too many things into too little time and then end up feeling overwhelmed.
With the lines between work and home becoming ever more blurred, forward planning can save a great deal of time a great deal of angst both in the workplace and in our home life.
When you do sit down and look at what is coming down the conveyor belt, you may feel guilty or inefficient because you have sacrificed time out of your busy schedule to plan, schedule and prioritise. However the outcome of time invested in this way is you will feel much more in control and that a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
Even the act of making a “To Do List”, and taking the stuff that is whirling around in your brain and putting it on paper is a very powerful act. Susan never had enough time, had paperwork she could not find, lacked confidence and often felt under stress.
However bit by bit, we worked away at scheduling time in her diary for organisational planning in different parts of her life.
The outcomes were outstanding in many more ways than I certainly had anticipated. Susan found she had more time and felt less stressed. She was now using this time more effectively in many aspects of her life which we had not specifically focused on.
Susan now feels much more confident in her own ability. She has gained more friends, taken up a hobby and even lost weight.
And most important Susan now feels she is in charge of her life, not that her life is in charge of her.
I am sure that these changes were not purely coincidental.
Susan still is an “as it happens sort of person”, but now her subconscious self, has recognised the old adage “fail to plan and you plan to fail.”