We all have 24 hours in a day, but what we do with them is what is important. Often, time management is condensed to the simple point of not being on time. We all know those people, and maybe we are one of them, that always seem to be a few minutes late. I don’t think most of them do it on purpose, they just don’t seem to be able to figure out how long it takes to get to their location, then what time they need to leave, or how to calculate all the little details that go into getting out the door, into the car, down the driveway, and to the location. Because invariably, they can’t find their keys, they forget their coffee cup, they hit all the lights red, or they can’t find a parking place. Just because their destination is 25 miles away and they drive 60 mph, it doesn’t automatically mean that they will get there in 25 minutes. And on a side note, was my math correct?
I guess you have figured out by now that I’m on the other end of the time management spectrum. I may even be bordering on obsessed with arriving not only on time but 10 minutes early. But as we all know, time management is much more than just being on time. It’s also about getting things accomplished. And because I am often a big-picture person in how I tend to view and analyze situations, sometimes to a fault, I see time management as more than just writing appointments down on a schedule. Time management is really about setting priorities and accomplishing tasks in order of their importance. It’s about using our time to make the biggest impact, to accomplish the most, and to be the most efficient in the things that we do.
Years ago, during my role as a school administrator, several on our team were beginning to feel overwhelmed with all they had to do. Some of them were young and inexperienced in the role they were in and were having a difficult time getting the tasks accomplished that they thought they needed to get done. And even as we all worked through a training session that provided ways to improve, we were finding that some individuals on the team were not making much progress. What we were learning, and it would take time to change, was that what they thought were priorities and where they were spending their time were inconsistent. We found that we needed to all get on the same page in terms of understanding what had to get done, what was important to get done, and what could wait until another day. Because there would be another day. It would be there tomorrow. Each day we had to decide what could wait and what could not. For many people that’s a difficult concept to accept.
And by the way, you need to find a little time for yourself and your family. That’s one of those things that “had to get done”, but we found that’s where some of our team was dropping the ball. I told them we didn’t need people leading our district that were getting burned out quickly on what they did. It was not good for themselves, the staff, or the kids.
So I challenge you to take time to reflect on what’s important. What’s important in your life, in your day, in your job……today, next week, for the next year, and for the next 10 years……have a plan, set and then follow your priorities, and manage your 24 hours each day in a way that will keep you on track.
Watch for more stories by Mike Ringen right here at Key Solutions.