I might as well be honest with you, when it comes to time management training I have an important message for the participants in my workshops: “Before we start, it’s important to acknowledge that no matter what time management strategies you use, you will never have time for everything.” If I’m honest, that’s probably the last thing they want to hear.
Yet for most of us, time management is first and foremost about deciding what you will do first, what to leave until later and what not to do at all.
A second level decision is about how much to do – if we engage in a task how good is good enough? That decision alone can free up valuable resources and release many layers of guilt.
Don’t get me wrong. There are many perfectly good ways to be able to do more with the same resources. You really can learn to get more stuff done and I have evidence that I do deliver on that promise. John sent this to the workshop organiser:
“The workshop host presented research and evidence for particular methods and tools, which I really appreciated. It is pitched perfectly – informative and practically helpful and I have put the learning into practice already.
I learnt so much from this training session and the host is absolutely brilliant.
More of Margaret, please.”
But you need to be aware of the possible danger: getting more stuff done is great but it could simply increase the size and the speed of the hamster wheel of work.
It is essential to ask a deeper question: what is your time management for?
- To get more stuff done?
- To finish everything on your to-do list?
- To finish work so you can spend time at home, resting, playing, being with your family?
- To be able to follow your passion – to write, to walk, to dive?
Could it be that the purpose of time management is to create space to do the most important thing?
And that begs the question: What is the most important thing?
Your answer is almost certainly going to be different to mine AND this is one thing where we can both be right.
I suspect there is some truth that, on their deathbed nobody says “I wish I’d spent more time in the office”.
- Your most important thing might be about spending time with people you love, friends, family or even time alone.
- You might value learning & development, health & wellbeing or contribution.
- Perhaps you are driven by a sense of service – to others, to the planet or a Higher Being.
If that thing is the most important thing in your life, when are you making time for it?
Does it get squeezed into the leftover spaces, the times you’re too tired and worn down to really do it well?
As Mary Oliver so eloquently asked: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Maybe the purpose of getting stuff done is to make time for the most important thing…
What do you think?
PS If you really do want to know how to get stuff done, I have created a programme “Strategies for Getting Stuff Done”, just for this.
It’s really intended for people who are busy, up to their eyeballs, feeling as if there’s no end to what they have to do AND YET, there’s rarely enough time to do they things they care most about. There are things that they really want to do but instead, they get buried in “stuff”. This shows you how to get stuff done and make time for the most important thing:
- I put the best parts of 20 years experience into a two hour masterclass (I know you don’t have time to waste).
- I edited the video into bite-sized chunks (I know you use all the little spaces between meetings to catch up!).
- I added subtitles (because I know you sometimes watch helpful videos when you’re on the train or while the family are watching TV).
- I addressed managing time, tasks and priorities (they’re not always the same).
- I specifically look at managing energy (you don’t do your best work when you’re exhausted).
If you want to get stuff done so you can have more time for your most important thing, maybe you need Strategies for Getting Stuff Done!
If you’ve got any questions, just drop me an email!