Posted by: Bill von Achen | April 30, 2010

Time Management 101

One of the ultimate paradoxes of entrepreneurship is that, although we are in complete control of what we do with our time, we never seem to have enough of it to get everything done.

For Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management From The Inside Out, the key to effective time management starts with taking a macro perspective of your life and your priorities. “To really tackle time,” Morgenstern writes, “you have to look at the big picture…If you don’t have clear goals and priorities, you won’t know where to spend your time.”

Have goals and priorities but still having difficulty getting things done? Follow these additional suggestions from Morgenstern:

Set priorities for your important projects: Not everything on your desk has to be tackled today (or even by you, for that matter). Review all of your projects to determine which ones are most critical to the long-term success of the business, and then delegate the rest.

Schedule time for everything that’s important to you: Don’t think that you’ll get critical tasks done in your “spare time.” Moving forward on your business priorities should be at least as important as everything else on your calendar. In fact, your business priorities should be on your calendar!

Create an oasis of time that is totally under your control: Block out an hour or two each day when you focus exclusively on your important business projects. Take the phone off the hook, shut down your e-mail browser and focus all of your energy on the project at hand. You’ll make steady progress on your priority projects, and emerge refreshed for the challenges of the day.

Let interruptions wait: Short of the roof literally caving in, there are few really important business issues that can’t be put off for an hour or two. Ironically, being temporarily inaccessible often forces subordinates to develop their own answers, and can actually foster the development of stronger problem-solving skills.

Practice saying “no” out loud, with conviction: The most successful entrepreneurs jealously guard their time. In reality, being selfish with the time that you have available is the best way to ensure that the projects that are really important get the attention that they deserve.

Morgenstern offers a simple (and free!) tool on her website, called “Focus, Filter, Facetime,” that may help you to increase your workplace efficiency and effectiveness.  To download a copy of the tool, go to Http://www.juliemorgenstern.com/blog/files/downloadable_form14/focus_filter_facetime.pdf.


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