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No matter what you do , no matter who you are , there will never be time to get it "all" done ... so what is this "time management" about ?
When you do a quick google search on "improving time management" you get about 8,580,000 results (0.40 seconds) . So there is a lot being written, read and you know what .. there is a whole industry built around getting things done. I can't imagine how many businesses would fold world-wide if we suddenly got it right. And how many lives and businesses would apparently improve if we suddenly got it right !
As far as I can tell we've all been doing stuff for years, for ever perhaps, surely we would have it nailed by now. My earliest readings on how best to use your time are of a fellow called Seneca (Seneca the Young actually). He was a around about 42 AD and really captured how to live an inspirational and personally productive life.
This work and yet more work gathered historically over the past 100+, 60, 50, 40 30, 20 or more recent years still has not cracked a code of managing time to be more productive more successful, more employable, getting more leisure time ... there has to be a way ??
Looking at all this "stuff" it feels the key is to approach things by being honest with ourselves about the questions "What is important to Me ? and How Important is this really to me ?"
For example .. If I took some time to write down everything I have to do right now, it might take me half an hour, or I could take this half an hour and write this blog .. so I choose to write this blog. Why ? Because a mate of mine ( G'day Kevin) asked me to do this by today and bugger me if I'm not going to get this off my plate. It is important to me. Sure I've taken some tips in my research of time management, I've turned off my phone, I've stopped talking to my operations manager ( G'day Roberta) and I am focussing on getting this done. It feels good (Better when it is completed).
There's more to just feeling good about getting things done. ( It may be that if you don't get something done you may get fired, or lose a client ouch !) Nevertheless, you can achieve incredible things if you get things done that directly influence or accumulate to have what is important to you. So what is important you you ? I pretty much guarantee .. if something is really important to you, really really important ... you'll find a way to get it done, if it is humanly possible. If you can't there are only four reasons why you will fail and they can be addressed (see last blog on why we fail - including choosing to procrastinate). If something is not important to you ... well nearly automatically you fail at doing it .. unless "not doing what you say you will do" causes more "pain" than dealing with trifles (another blog sometime).
I've done a lot of reading and observing in preparation for this blog .. some of the major contribution sources for me have been Rasmus Ankersen ( the Gold Mine Effect); Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture); James Victore (There ain't no shortcuts, you gotta do the work) ; Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People); Michelle Andres (Two Rabbits) ; Harvard Business Review (HBR Getting the Right Work Done) ... and I could go on .... and you could read all this stuff too.
I would like to leave you with a modernised proverb about what to do (So you can just think about it and then decide what to do). This takes Michelle Andres' thoughts to a bigger more complex level and comes from a book by Duncan Clark (The House that Jack Ma Built ) .
Here is , I believe, is a simple time management secret that helped create one of the most profound disruptive and biggest business successes in the last 20 years .. imagine what you can do ? .. here is "Nine Rabbits "
I heard this listening to Duncan's book “If there are nine rabbits on the ground, if you want to catch one, just focus on one. Change your tactics if you need to, but don’t change the rabbit. . . . Get one first, put it in your pocket, and then catch the others.”
Now the original fable only had two rabbits, I really liked the update to Nine Rabbits because it is the 21st century ... things are more than 4 times busier than they used to be (Well that's how it feels) .
So ...in summary :
- Pick your Rabbit
- Choose to get that Rabbit (Don't choose many rabbits .. Don't choose excuses .. Choose your Rabbit)
- Use every tool and talent available to get that Rabbit - focus - change your tactics if you need to - get that Rabbit
- PS: Just in case any of you Rabbit Chasers missed the "obvious" ... You FOCUS on your Rabbit ... just that one ... because if you chase one and get distracted by another then another and get distracted by all the F' Rabbits ( Fast, Furry, Funny or Fabulous) ... You won't get any Rabbits :-)
Here is what Jack Ma did by "Catching Rabbits".
I hope that billions of dollars of evidence inspires you to catch some great Business Rabbits .. in our personal lives ... Rabbits can be many things. It is not always about the money
Have a fabulous day
Stephen Harris | Value Streams