The first time I walked into Ralph's office I saw papers everywhere. When I asked him about the tiny papers, he said they all represented an item that he needed to take care of. One of his frustrations was figuring out how to balance all of the important tasks that he had on his plate.
It seems as if our to-do lists are constantly growing. As businesses try to do more with less, you get much more! Add to it competing priorities and it can get confusing and overwhelming. How do we get it all done? Why is it that some people seem to get more done than others? Are they smarter? Not really. They just know the secret.
You Can't Manage Time
There will always be 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year (unless it is a leap year of course). That will not change. What you can do is spend more energy focusing on how your attention is used during those 24 hours. It is about HOW you use your time.
The good news is that you have the ability to produce an infinite amount of attention. This is a powerful gift and must be used wisely. How you manage to focus your attention (or how long you keep your attention focused) will make or break your ability to get things done.
Pay Attention? How is That Different?
Paying attention is consciously focusing your time on an activity that gives you a good return. Your return on investment is even more important today. “Time is money” as the saying goes. What you choose to do with your time directly relates to how you make money and how balanced your life can be.
Figure Out What to Pay Attention to Now!
“Efficiency is doing things right, but effectiveness is doing the right things.” ~Peter Drucker
When you consider your system for setting priorities, you must focus on doing the right things, rather than simply doing things right.
- Are you in charge of leading your business or department?
- Do you have a large list of abandoned projects all sitting at various levels of incomplete?
- Do you have a list of projects that do not reflect your best work?
- Do you struggle with figuring out how to focus your time and energy and work on what is truly important?
If so, it is time for you to figure out where to focus your attention. After conducting a survey of about 4000+ of my Twitter followers, I learned that people have a real challenge figuring out where to pay attention and how to figure it out.
Putting it Into Action
“Taking action is the real difference between the super-successful and wannabes.” ~Rich Schrfren
Once you figure out the areas where you need to focus, then it is time to get to the real business of TAKING ACTION. All of the best thought out plans will turn into nothing if you don't take action.
Start by implementing what I call a “Power Hour.” One of my on-line mentors is Alex Mandossian and one thing I admire about him is the massive volume of work he can pump out. His secret? ATTENTION! He tells us to pick one hour a day (yes, one out of the 24 that we have) and focus in on ONE thing. It is not getting a drink or seeing what your buds are up to on Twitter/Facebook. Sit in your working space and work on that ONE thing (picked from your priority listing) for the entire hour.
That's it! It sounds simple, but it takes practice. In this multi-tasking culture of ours, it is so easy to get distracted and do other things. If you are willing to make the investment, you will be amazed at how much more you can get done in a day/week/month/year. Try it and then let me know how it goes!
Want More on Time Management?
What do you think? Are you going to try this out? What do you do? Share your comments below. I know your thoughts will help others too.