If you are feeling like the work just keeps on coming and you would like more hours in the day, you are not alone. Daily, I hear clients and colleagues who are more stretched than ever and wish they could make time. This is one thing no-one can do; we can choose what we take time for, but we can’t make it. And time is our most precious non-renewable resource. While I can’t help you to make time, I can support you to manage it.
By following the 6 P’s you can take charge of your time and your life and take Key Steps to…
‘be the difference that makes the difference‘.
- Purpose. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychologist who survived the Nazi death camps, made an important discovery. He was intrigued with the question of what made it possible for some people to survive when most died. He looked at several factors – health, vitality, family structure, intelligence, survival skills. Finally, he concluded that none of these factors was primarily responsible. The single most significant factor, he realised, was a sense of having a bigger purpose… those who survived believed that they had some important work left to do. Your purpose (vision and mission) is the driving force behind everything you do. More than any other factor, vision affects the choices we make and the way we spend our time. It’s the best way to use your ability to actualise the life you want. You create your reality every minute. Do you like what you are creating? Each week, connect deeply to your purpose. When you have a deeper yes burning, it is easier to say no.
- Plan. Planning is quite possibly the most important facet of time management as it includes setting goals and intricately working things out. It’s a proactive way to manage your days. And even when you think you can’t possibly take the time required each day to plan, I’m here to tell you that you can’t afford NOT to plan. By spending time planning, you actually add time to your day. DuPont conducted time-effectiveness studies, which support the theory that for every 1 minute spent planning, the time required to complete a project is usually reduced by 3 or 4 minutes. This may not seem like much but consider your larger tasks. For every 4 hours you spend planning, you’d save up to 16 hours (that’s 2 full workdays) on the completion time of tasks. In planning, remember “Seven Powerful Planning Questions”: Which? Why? Where? When? Who? What? How? These help you determine your core objectives.
- Prioritise. How do you currently determine your priorities? I like to use the Pareto principle (80/20), Covey’s Time Management Matrix (does Urgent vs. Important ring a bell?), Cost vs. Benefit Analysis, various types of To Do Lists (including a master list, prioritised list and perhaps list) and numerous other tools that we implement practically during our time management and prioritising programme. If you don’t currently use a system, you are likely just prioritising what is on your schedule and forgetting to schedule your priorities. Take your power back ensure that you blend planning and prioritising to create a life you don’t want to run away from.
- Push back. I’ve been writing numerous pieces about this lately because we really need to get better at establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. This includes managing expectations, saying no and negotiating effectively. I am deeply passionate about doing this work because I know it isn’t easy. For some tips on saying no, you can take a look at a recent article I wrote with Key Steps to Say NO Nicely. And remember that if you don’t push back, you are perpetuating the problem by teaching people how to treat you. …
- Prepare. Much of our frustration and anxiety comes from the feeling of being unprepared, out of control or rushed. Many activities become urgent because of a lack of preparation. The 6 P’s weekly organising tool, that we practically implement during our programmes, creates a framework that allows for and encourages preparation. For example, if you are supposed to make an important presentation at a meeting on Friday morning, you may need to set aside some time on Wednesday to prepare and on Thursday to dry-run or finalise figures. As you look over your week, it’s important that you have not filled every moment of your days with time sensitive appointments. Allow for flexibility and be prepared for the unexpected. No matter how well we plan, interruptions and unexpected tasks always come. To ignore them (if that were even possible) would be to live without opportunity, spontaneity and some of the richest moments of which “life” is made.
- Progress. Your 6th P is actually the end as well as the beginning. The aim is to create a living and learning cycle where you stop and connect to what you can learn from the past week while connecting to your purpose again for the next. The living and learning cycle is the spirit of kaizen – the Japanese word for the spirit of continuous improvement. It’s in direct contrast to the Western mentality “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. With age and experience comes an appreciation of the value of feedback for learning. We can only fail when we become insensitive to feedback, ignore feedback or hold on to limiting beliefs that prevent us from learning the lessons we need to learn from feedback. I wish you a great week ahead as you live and learn from living.
What Key Steps can you see yourself taking to…? I wish you a great week (month and life ahead 😊) as you journey to…
‘be the difference that makes the difference.’
NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.
About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides
Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.
Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to have achieved the title of
Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.
Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’