“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Think of what Walt Disney accomplished in one year: Disneyland was built in 366 days, from ground-breaking to first day open to the public.

So how are you doing on time management?

On average studies have shown we spend:

  • 27 years sleeping
  • 3.3 years eating
  • 5 months waiting at traffic lights
  • 8 months opening unwanted mail
  • 1 year looking for misplaced objects
  • 2 years attempting to return phone calls
  • 4 years doing housework
  • 5 years waiting in lines
  • 13.8 years working

So given all the different things we do, why aren’t we better organized? Many people say it takes too much time, some feel they just don’t know how to be better organized and others want to do everything “perfectly” and end up not accomplishing much.

So what is the price of not being organized?

  • Missed goals
  • Overlooked opportunities
  • Wasted time
  • Wasted money

A shift in focus

Concentrate on results, not on being busy! Many people spend their days in a frenzy of activity that produces few results because they are not concentrating on the right things.

The 80/20 Rule

  • 80 percent of unfocussed effort generates only 20 percent of results.
  • The remaining 80 percent of results are achieved with only 20 percent of the effort.

10 myths about time

Myth: Time can be managed.

Truth: Only tasks can be managed.

Myth: The longer or harder you work the more you accomplish.

Truth: It’s better to work efficiently.

Myth: If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Truth: You have to delegate. You can’t do it all.

Myth: You aren’t supposed to enjoy work.

Truth: If you don’t enjoy it, find something else to do.

Myth: We should take pride in working hard.

Truth: We should take pride in working smart.

Myth: You should try to do the most in the least amount of time.

Truth: Do things right, the first time.

Myth: Technology will help you do it better, faster.

Truth: It may, but technology also encourages us to do things that don’t need doing.

Myth: Do one thing at a time.

Truth: Multitask.

Myth: Handle paper only once.

Truth: Never pick up a piece of paper without doing something to get it off your desk.

Myth: Get more done and you’ll be happier.

Truth: No, you’ll only get more done.

Beckwith’s four cornerstones of planning

  1. Predicting the future.
  2. Decide what you want your future to look like.
  3. Analyze the results.
  4. Implement the plan.

1. Predicting the future.

This is hard.

  • Look at the environment.
  • What did last year’s strategic plan say?
  • What does your team/manager want?
  • What do your agents want?

2. Decide what you want your future to look like.

  • Write your vision statement.
  • Share your vision with your team.
  • Then write the mission statement.
  • Remember to plan for alternative futures.

 3. Analyze the results

  • Write the strategic plan to show how you will respond to and flesh out the mission statement.
  • Figure out ways to make sure your future comes out the way you want.

4. Implement the plan

  • The process is important, maybe as important as the result.
  • But…
  • The object of a plan is to change something so it must be implemented.

How to improve time management

  • Keep a record of your time for one full week 168 hours.
  • Make a realistic time budget sheet.
  • Make a daily to-do list – use the A, B, C system to prioritize the list:
  • A’s must be done today.
  • B’s are important but not as much as A’s.
  • C’s would be nice but…

The “to do” list: A power tool

  • Use it as a master planning tool.
  • Use annual, monthly and weekly versions.
  • It’s a visual schedule.
  • It acts as a reminder.
  • It gives direction.
  • You get satisfaction when items are crossed off.

Remember, good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

For more from Lloyd Lofton, see: