Several years ago I read a report about asking 3 specific questions to increase your productivity.
While I unfortunately can’t remember who wrote the report, I do remember the questions. . .
First, remember there are no quick time fixes. Time management takes time. Time to know yourself*, time to make changes.
Question 1: “What is the most effective use of my time RIGHT NOW?”
Effectiveness is all about doing the right job right and, equally important, selecting a job that’s consistent with your goals.
In order to be effective, you need to have specific goals.
What are your specific goals for this month, quarter, year (see my blog post on goal setting if you’re unsure how to plan for these).
Question 2: “What is the payoff or ROI of this activity?”
To accomplish your goals, you want to know what your tolerance is for the amount of time something takes to generate a return on investment, or ROI.
For example, if you invested in solar power for your home, you would want to know how long it takes for that to pay for itself so you could make an informed purchasing decision.
If it’s something that’s taking your time and you determine your time is worth $100/hour (You do know what your time is worth to accomplish your goals, correct? If not stop reading and figure that out so you can make informed decisions going forward.), how long until you not only recoup your time investment, but profit from it?
Question 3: “Where do you find yourself living?”
There have been several versions of the time chart.
The one I prefer most is one developed by Dr. Merrill Douglas, a noted time management expert.
Of the following four quadrants, which do you find yourself operating in most often:
The above is obvious.
The most successful business owners spend most of their time in Quadrant 2 – that which is important, but not yet urgent. Sadly, this is also the quadrant which gets the least attention. This month’s topic call, The Power of the Browse, focuses on the creation of something which would be appropriate in Quadrant 2, and yet I find myself questioning how many will do it.
The more time you spend in Quadrants 3 and 4 on a regular, daily basis means the more time you’ll find yourself in Quadrant 1 (crisis mode) and, ultimately, the less effective you’ll be.
*The best resource I know on time management, particularly Heart-Based Time Management™ is Paula Eder (www.TheTimeFinder.com) and most specifically her “‘These Critical Voices Are Driving Me Crazy!’ How to Use Positive Self-Talk to Save Your Sanity and Your Time!”, 101 Time Tips and 17 Priority Power™ Questions products.