Davidson is a certified professional trainer, business coach and management consultant.
Driven by passion, he is an engaging and versatile presenter with over 20 years of experience in the training industry. Over the course of his career, he has trained over 1,000 companies comprising start-ups, SMEs, MNCs, government agencies and others all over Southeast Asia.
Here is your change to ask him a Question or read some of the advice given to others.
Help! I’m Thinking Of Leaving My Job
I’m having trouble with time management. I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day (and perhaps longer weekends). Can you help me?
– Alice in Wonderland
Dear Alice in Wonderland
A while ago I also wished there were more than 24 hours a day, but since then I learned and applied essential strategies of time management to become more productive and to have more time for other things.
Of course, time spent cannot be unspent, so spending it wisely is important. Getting your priorities clear and listing them down considering their importance and urgency is the very first task to do, and the best way to start better time management.
Firstly, divide all your activities into four groups with given examples:
1. Urgent and Important (Deadline-driven projects)
2. Not Urgent but Important (Relationship Building, Progress)
3. Urgent but Not Important (Some meetings, Popular activities, Interruptions)
4. Neither Urgent nor Important (Trivia work, Time wasters)
Do it in a form of matrix, whilst listing all your daily and work activities in each quadrant.
This matrix is meant for prioritising your activities while keeping your goals in mind.
This can be easily transformed into a daily to-do list.
My advice here is to spend as much time as possible on Not Urgent but Important tasks (Quadrant II), because if you do this, you will eventually reduce the time you have to spend on Urgent and Important tasks (Quadrant I).
Next time you have any new task to do, whether it’s to let your friends take you out, or to pick up your phone, literally anything, ask yourself first: does this activity belong to Quadrant I, II, III or IV?
If you think it’s something from Quadrant IV, don’t waste your time on it, it’s not important at all!
If it’s from Quadrant I, you don’t really have a choice to ‘skip’ it, because that’s something urgent and needs to be done now.
If it’s from Quadrant III, it’s not important either, so try to avoid spending your time on it too.
What you should concentrate on are tasks from Quadrant II, as they are important and if done in time will not transform into headache-causing tasks from Quadrant I.
Although, time management does not stop on finding out your priorities, it’s important to pay attention to when you are doing what.
Find out the time when you are most productive and focussed, and let that time be when you do your most challenging tasks.
After scheduling your time right the next step is avoiding distractions, which are overabundant nowadays as a result of social media and smartphones. Those distractions are a killer for your productivity and energy. So put your phone away or switch to ‘airplane mode’, limit yourself to a specific time to check your social media, or consider scheduled site-blocking software.
Good time management moves beyond the management of activities and also involves the management of your workspace, so … start with your desk, remove anything not related to work, make better arrangements for yourself.
DO NOT multitask. There is a common misconception about multitasking, although psychological researches prove that our productivity and concentration drop a lot when we try to do many things at once.
START delegating: do not waste your time doing things that somebody else can do, especially if they can do them better than you.
And STOP procrastinating: break up tasks into smaller segments that require less time, and set clear deadlines to it.
Have you been putting some tasks away, like making that important call to your parents, or making that appointment with your dentist or, perhaps, clearing up your storage room?
If your answer is ‘yes’… dedicate the amount of time needed to do that task (say, 1 hour) and do it right now!
Yes, right now! Put your ‘distractions’ away and concentrate on this task. Get into the zone. Reward yourself after you have completed the task.
How do you feel now? Wasn’t it a great feeling having something accomplished? This is similar to striking out an item on your to-do list. Now do that with all the other tasks that you’ve been putting off.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about time management, you are welcome to watch a very informative video on my YouTube channel below:
There is also a whole chapter dedicated to this topic in my recent book, ‘8 Vital Skills to Succeed at the Workplace’, which will help you find more about the Time Management Management Matrix and how to build it.