Visualizing strategies to free time and allow leaders to focus on what is important
For me personal time management skills are fundamental for professional success within the workplace. Those capable to implement time management strategies, are able to control their workload rather than spend each day in a frenzy of activity reacting to crisis after crisis. Stress declines and personal productivity soars. These highly effective individuals are able to focus on the tasks with the greatest impact to them and their organization.
Most of us fall into the erroneous train of thought: “I have too much to do and don’t have enough time.” Or “I have so much time I can do it later.”
Let’s look at the Pickle Jar Theory for example.
It illustrates how relatively unimportant tasks or commitments can easily take up much of a person’s time. Filling one’s day with small trivial tasks that are not important prevents one from using that time to complete larger or more important tasks and projects.
The theory uses a pickle jar and its contents to represent time management. The inside of the pickle jar represents a person’s time, and all the different tasks and commitments that take up that time are represented by rocks, pebbles, sand and water that are placed into the jar.
- Rocks are the important things that require immediate, significant attention, and produce a huge benefit when they are accomplished.
- Pebbles produce a benefit, but they are not as important as the tasks represented by the larger rocks.
- Grains of sand signify small, time-consuming tasks that are relatively easy to do but are of little importance, filling in the leftover space. Things like text messages, constant email checking, and idle chit-chat all take time, but generate little benefit.
- The final component, water, fills in what little space remains, and represents the tasks and idle moments that fill all the remaining space.
The key to using this Theory is to become aware of which tasks are “rocks,” providing large benefits and requiring immediate attention. Once you know which tasks are “rocks,” you can turn your attention to the “sand,” paring it away to make room for more rocks. Various techniques can be used to diminish the number of grains of sand in the jar.
I utilize time management, to not only improve my work performance in order to complete tasks in a timely manner, but also to use the free time to work on achieving my goals, read a book or spend time with my family.
To simplify, ask yourself this and prioritize accordingly using this method.
A) MUST do, this task is directly attached to your goal, these are the things you must do to achieve it.
B) SHOULD do, this is important, but not an emergency (emails, phone calls, meetings)
C) NICE to do, like going to the movies, have dinner with friends, change the oil on your car
D) DELEGATE, partner with your weaknesses, assign tasks that will take you a long time to accomplish alone
E) ELIMINATE, things that are not necessary to do, do not help you with your goals, are not beneficial to you or your goals
Set your daily goals and make plans to achieve them, at the start of each day. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound – smart goals. Once your goals are set, follow with an action plan for the day and prioritize.
Ultimately, your goal is to make better decisions about the way in which you use your time. Transforming the way in which you work takes a commitment from you, but the biggest impact you’ll make comes from visualizing the outcome. Your vision will act just like a magnet and attract your desired outcomes.
In a nutshell, to be a good leader at your workplace manage your time wisely, delegate your team and make your dreams a reality.