As entrepreneurs, people in leadership positions or team members, our time is the most precious resource that we have. It is our only finite resource and is our biggest limitation. Therefore, in order to get the most out of our days and weeks etc we must learn to use our time wisely.
Let me tell you a story that I was once told and I now tell to people, particularly when speaking at seminars or workshops on productivity, time or team leadership. Think about this: if the average person lives for just under 80 years (81 for females and 76 for males according to the latest data for the UK) and there is 52 weeks in a year then, using round numbers then we live for around 4,000 weeks. Therefore, if you are around the age of 40 (I am recently 40), we have approximately 2,000 weeks left to live! Frightening, shocking, scary and a bit morbid, I know.
However, I only tell that story to bring home the point that managing and getting the most out of your time is important and every second, hour and day counts.
There are many tools out there to help you with your effectiveness and time management and many famous books on this subject. Some of the ones I like and would recommend include:
One of my favourite tools that I use is a default diary. Below is a copy of mine which shows how, in an ideal week, I would be using my time at different parts of the day and week. It allows me to make decisions about what I do and when I do it.
This is just a spread sheet that organises my week into areas that I need to work on, e.g. Monday morning is admin and internal meetings and in the afternoon I switch to marketing and planning etc.
This helps me to stay focused. When I use it with clients, it helps them move from being reactive to being proactive very quickly. The additional benefit they get is that they can communicate this with their team and clients and it allows them to be in control of their time and responsibilities.In addition, as a leader if you start to take control of your time you will also be setting a good example for your team and give them permission to do the same.
Now, a week will not always go to plan but, at least, when you have a default diary in place you will know why your time has just run out or has just got away from you.
Do you think you could benefit from working out your default diary?
Thanks to Michel Fillon for the image