The Allure of Time Management

alarmWe are nothing if not a society hell bent on cramming every possible activity we can onto the calendar. A few business people I know try to push more than one item into the same time slot. Does that make sense? Of course not.

For years we have been seduced into thinking that multi-tasking is a good thing. Employees are given atta-boys for their ability to juggle multiple priorities at once. Managers praise their people for being able to take customer calls, do email and text all while taking a potty break. Nothing is more disconcerting than listening to someone take a business call from the bathroom stall next to you by the way. The reinforcement of this multi-tasking mania has now led to people texting and answering email on their iPhones and Blackberry’s while driving! Am I the only one who thinks that these people should have their drivers license suspended…forever?

Quite an industry has sprung up around this notion of “managing time”. Multi-tasking isn’t managing time, it is only wasting it. An August 2009 research report from Stanford University shows that so-called high achieving multi-taskers are only frying their brain. Guru’s far more experienced than me will tell you that time management has always been a myth. All of us have the same 24 hours in the day. The #1 key to success in achieving our goals is a single minded focus on the “right” priorities. Your objective is to focus on the one thing – the big rock – that you complete before moving on to the next.

As I talk to groups about social media and how to integrate it into their sales/networking approach, I always ask, “What are your top two or three concerns about using social media?” Predictably, someone always says, “I don’t have the time.” That attitude springs from the belief that you are “adding on” to what you already do now. In reality, you need to let something else go. Everyone has time wasters disguised as results driven activities hidden somewhere on their calendar. Many are hidden in plain sight.

Try this exercise. Write down how many face-to-face networking events you attended in the past month. Even if it’s 1 per week, you probably spent at least 3 hours when you include drive time plus the event time itself. That’s 12 hours – more than a full business day each month. Now consider your hourly billable rate and ask yourself if you secured enough clients from those activities to make it worth it. The answer – based on experience and the answers I receive from every group that I poll – will likely be a resounding no! Not even close. That’s why the effective use of social networking tools like LinkedIn is such a beautiful thing. Done right, you spend “less time” actually getting better results.

How we view time is in direct proportion to our attitude about time. Your peers, your competitors and your friends don’t have any more hours in the day than you do. It is all about how you use them. If you ever want to invest in finding out how you prioritize, I encourage you to check out our Time Mastery assessment. For as little as $31 and the investment of a 10-15 minutes, you will discover just how well you work with your daily 24 hour allotment. Time management is a myth. How you choose to spend your time is what counts!

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