Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Heart of Time & Priority Management

Focus: Time Management, Personal Productivity

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The Heart of Time and Priority Management
Transcript - print now
Wc: 458
Read time: 2 mins.

The art and activity of managing your time, organizing your stuff and space and determining your priorities begins on the inside. It’s so important to recognize this.

Whenever you attempt to plan what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it with what ever planning tools you’re using, you go through an “internal dialogue.” That dialogue begins with a way of thinking that generates certain kinds of emotions that then influence what you will decide. That decision then determines how you will behave or another way of putting it, what action you will take – when.

In much time management seminars this is not discussed AND YET, this is the most essential part, because this impacts everything else. It’s a chain reaction.

Thinking = impacts feelings = how you plan = what you do

Here’s an example:
Let’s say that you have the kind of personality that makes it hard to say no…yep I know that there are some of you out there. Let’s also say that you get a request from a co-worker to help them with a project. You don’t know for sure if you have the time, but you say yes to the request because you want to be helpful and genuinely want to be seen as a team player.

In fact, you will either consciously or subconsciously go through that thought process in your head….”well I don’t know if I have time, but I’m a team player…so….” All those thoughts are generating a variety of feelings. Depending on your personality, the relationship with that team member and other factors, you may experience these kinds of feelings: desire/motivation, stress, guilt, fear, joy to name a few. Those feelings determine WHY you said yes. This is crucial to be aware of. 

WHY?...because managing your internal dialogue - the process given above is the foundation to managing time and priorities effectively. 

Let’s continue the example. Let’s say that although you said yes, the reality is you are swamped and really don’t have time to help. Saying yes, creates a commitment and an expectation for yourself and the other person and now your integrity in on the line.

In many cases you will push and stress yourself to help and that will impact other items on your plate. Ironically, some of those items may actually be more important and your taking on additional activity may affect the quality of those items or they may even fall through the cracks.

You may subsequently feel stress, and then even angry at the person for even asking in the first place or at yourself for saying yes. No matter what, this is an example of ineffective time management and it all began with your internal dialogue.

Bite-size Tip: Become acutely aware of your internal dialogue as you work and also as you begin implementing the principles being offered in this series.

Remember, time and priority management begins on the inside.
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