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What Time Management Questions Are You Asking?

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm

In most settings, the idea of time management is getting more done for the sake of doing more. This is where you pack every minute full of things so that there is less idle time, a tactic that can be valid and useful at times, but generally serves to wear you out without producing exceptional results. Time management is about what you can cut out, not what you can cram in.

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

Look to most corporate time management policies or seminars and you will hear about efficiency. Getting more things done in less time, whether those things are worth doing or not. The first “real” job I ever had was as a sales assistant for four Big Dog sales people at an internet marketing company. My job was to set up initial sales calls for the real sales people. My boss only cared about how many phone calls I was making, regardless of the fact that I had high number of appointments set of anyway, and I hit my quote by the 20th of every month, he would still call me to his office to “chat” about my low call volume.

He was worried about efficiency, while I was busy being effective.

Effectiveness is doing the things that move you toward your goal, whatever that goal may be. Chances are it is not “to make 100 calls a day.” Metrics are not goals. Metrics are metrics. Take a few minutes to think about, talk about, or jot down those things you do in a day that move you effectively toward your goal. (You should have a goal, but that’s another topic.) Once you’ve made that list, make another list of the things to do that do not move you toward your goal. This is called the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle.

The 80/20 Rule

You have heard of the 80/20 rule, you’ve read about it, and you’ve probably given a talk to some up and comer about it, but I bet you don’t put it into practice. Like I said before, time management is about what you can cut out. Pareto’s principle is talked about all the time because those that put it into practice see a huge increase in effectiveness. Let’s cut as much of that 80 out as we can.