Time is your most valuable commodity. There will only ever be 24 hours in your day and once it is spent it can never be returned. But as important as time is, if you want to be truly productive it is not your time that you should be managing so closely, it is your tasks.
When you manage your tasks well, you automatically manage your time well too. Let me explain….I believe there are three key benefits to managing and prioritising your tasks over just managing your time.
You become productive as opposed to busy
How often is your diary filled with so many tasks, calls and meetings that your diary is back to back. We confuse being busy with being productive, attempting to fit our unlimited amount of tasks into our limited amount of time. But when you focus on managing your tasks as opposed to managing your time you are choosing to be productive and doing what needs to be done.
You work on the important as opposed to the urgent
We live and work in a time of instant gratification. As a result, everything has become ‘urgent’. Customers want enquiries answered immediately and colleagues or supervisors need information instantly. These quick deadlines that can seem urgent often distract us from our important work that is making the biggest difference and greatest profit.
It can be a time management trap when you start letting other peoples deadlines and schedules dictate your own. While there will be times when you need to drop everything to attend to a truly urgent tasks, you will need to be able to differentiate between urgent tasks and urgent tasks that are important which comes back to how you prioritise your work.
You become focused instead of multitasking
When you are under pressure, it can be tempting to multi-task to get through your work faster. But the truth is multi-tasking doesn’t help you work faster; trying to juggle multiple tasks can become a distraction in itself – trust me one of my worst habits is trying to multi-task.
You end up spending more time on each task, forgetting where you were up to and at the end of the day or week several unfinished tasks. When you manage and prioritise your tasks and concentrate on one task at a time, it sharpens your focus, allowing you to get through your work more effectively and efficiently.
So take a look at your to-do list from this last week. Did your schedule or someone else’s dictate the tasks you prioritised or did your prioritised tasks dictate your schedule? What can you do differently for this coming week to make sure your top priorities are given priority?