Learning to manage your time is one skill that a small business person has to learn to take their business to the next level, but a proper discussion of time management involves more than just learning how to make a schedule. Depending on who you talk to, time management can be a series of simple principles or a complex system where every minute of your day is accounted for.
Managing your time successfully implies accomplishing what is most important to you. When you don't accomplish what you truly want, you may feel confused, compromised, and frustrated. Many people try to use time management techniques that work for others, only to be disappointed. Therefore, your study of the subject needs to begin with an objective look at the personality traits that affect and prevent good time management skills.
We then will move on to the basic building blocks need for you to learn how to create your own time management system. There are many people out there that will sell you a beautifully detailed program for micro-managing every aspect of your life. While we will be offering advanced courses that address more complex systems, I believe that you have to learn to walk before you run and our objective here is to give you the foundation to build your future on.
The key to time management is knowing ourselves. Without a serious look at ourselves and our own behaviors, we will never truly figure out how we waste time and therefore how to correct it. While there are many personality type that waste time, let's look at some of the most popular.
- The Fireman - This individual sees everything as a crisis. They are so busy putting out fires that they have no time to deal with anything else. Especially the boring things such as time management. Tasks just pile up around them as they rush from fire to fire all day. You will typically see them running to their car.
- The Over-Committer - The person just cannot say NO. They always think they have time to take on any project any time they are asked. They are the ones that are known to always say YES when asked to chair another committee, take on another project, or organize yet another community event. They are so busy they don't even have time to write down all the things they do. You will notice that they have become scared to answer the phone.
- The Aquarian - The person is just too 'laid-back', to the point that it starts interfering with their ability to finish tasks or bother to return phone calls. Getting to things with you get around to them isn't time management; it is simple task avoidance. They are often seen with their feet up on their desk.
- The Chatty Kathy - This individual was just born to socialize. They believe that they have astounding oral communication skills and they can't resist exercising them at every opportunity. Every interaction becomes a long drawn out conversation, especially if there is an unpleasant task coming up that they'd like to put off. There are often seen talking on cell phones for hours.
- The Perfectionist - This person has a compulsion to cross all the "T's" and dot all the "I's". Exactitude is their watchword, and they feel that no rushed job can be a good job. Finishing tasks to their satisfaction is such a problem they need more time zones, not just more time. You will see them hunched over their desks as you leave work for the day.
- The Procrastinator - This individual can always find a reason why something else needs to be done first. They are the masters at rationalization. They tend to wait until the last minute to accomplish a task and tell themselves that there was just not enough time to do it. You will typically see them daydreaming or surfing the web.
Of all the ways that people avoid managing their time, probably the two worst are procrastination and perfectionism. Let's take a look at these in greater detail.