How to Manage Time Effectively by Jeff Davidson and John M. O’Connor
Many are motivated to achieve their goals and a large number already possess the requisite skills. However, the one thing everyone seems to say is that they don’t have enough time. Write an article? Prepare a speech? Do all of this while in your career or while you are looking for your next opportunity?
Seriously, who’s got time? Perhaps there is no greater obstacle to effective career marketing than managing one’s time. In the age of limitless pull from social media sites like LinkedIn and a literal army advisors what can you do to limit and amplify your brand with less risk to your time and reputation? That’s the key question.
Here’s the ten million dollar lotto jackpot of a question: Is there enough time to do your job, market your career, revise your personal brand, and otherwise lead a balanced life? Yes, there is.
Work Must Count Twice
Jeff Davidson: “Early in my career I gravitated to the notion of making my work count twice. For example, at the end of each consulting engagement I had to prepare a report. From many of the reports I was able to extract passages that could be converted into articles that were later published. Many of those articles were used again in books as chapters or parts of chapters.”
John M. O’Connor: “Early in my career I used my writing and interviewing skills to interview industry leaders, contacts and create content for how to handle articles and notes on almost any career or industry. This “notebook” proved valuable as I worked with $100K plus executives in almost any industry, including high level government leaders. Those interviews led to a knowledge base that even an MBA could not provide.”
The same technique can be applied to other kinds of work. The key after completing any task is to ask yourself whether the results can be used in any other way – to solve a different problem, meet someone else’s need, or create a new and profitable way to proceed. Get into the habit making your work count twice and you’ll be amazed at how effective you become. Use all work to increase your knowledge of your field, your business and your profession. Keep notes and build on the contacts you developed through this process. Bonus – practice reaching outside of your company and try to know and build rapport with your industry’s thought leaders.
Where the Time Goes Matters
Recognizing where your time is wasted is a good way to give yourself more time for career marketing. If you do too many simple tasks yourself rather than delegating them to your subordinates, the obvious solution is to delegate more. Another excellent way to make time for things you consider important is to learn to say, “No!” How many of us end up doing things we feel only mildly interested in because we haven’t learned to say “No?” It’s often out of fear that we say yes because if we say no what are the consequences? Saying no politely to things that sap your energy can revive you and energize you for your most important work. No is okay. That word, which requires practice, needs to be couched in something positive. For instance, if someone asks you to review a paper, say, “I’d like to, but I’m pressed for time right now so I’ll have to pass.” Or you could say, “I want to help you but I may not give you my best effort if I do this now.”
If you find yourself having trouble saying “No” to unwanted social obligations or business commitments that distract you from your major goals, create a mental picture of yourself overcoming the distraction. Be ruthless in avoiding time wasters and stick to your plan of target dates and priorities. Try not to offend but setting major goals requires you create the space needed to achieve them and that means downtime not sleeplessness. Select your priorities carefully. Make sure you do not let anything interfere with your plans for a certain segment of time.
Be particularly careful with your time when you’re “on a roll.” Don’t let anything interrupt you if you are feeling highly productive. Lock the door, turn off the phone, do whatever it takes to maintain the momentum. Also, invest in time-saving devices. Any piece of equipment that pays for itself in a year is worth it. An associate and friend let years pass without plunking down $200 to secure an item that would double his productivity. He felt “the organization should pay for it.” What a career loss!
Go to College During Travel Time
The average American commutes 157,589 miles to work during his or her lifetime, the equivalent of traveling six times around the world, and that’s not counting the added time and gasoline consumed in stop and go traffic. Think of the staggering proportion of commuting time that you spend sitting in traffic jam – and then plan some ways to use that time productively. It can be as simple as installing some kind of MP3 or iPod in your car. Above all turn off your satellite radio and local disc jockeys. Audio books for such items as management and up to date business books, novels, and radio shows are now available to download. Slip some extra reading material into your car also. Those minutes and hours spent sitting in unavoidable traffic or waiting for a kid at a soccer game can be used wisely.
Similar to installing an MP3 player or iPod and carrying extra reading material in your car for everyday use, be prepared while you’re traveling. Bring the stack of items you’ve wanted to complete and if your trip is longer than three days, mail the package back to yourself. Maybe you won’t get to use the time, but how frustrating is having nothing to do.
Save Time by Getting Organized
Unquestionably, getting and staying organized takes time and thought, but it saves even more time than it takes, while at the same time offering peace of mind. Why not view getting organized as preparation time “to respond to life?” Knowing where things are – papers you need for a report, back-up supplies, important phone numbers and addresses – gives you the freedom to concentrate on creative, more fulfilling work.
Save time by making up address labels for people to whom you write frequently. Use return addresses as labels for your next correspondence with that person. Think of the time you spend running to the post office because you used the 20 stamps you bought last week. Buy a roll of 100 stamps at a time; you’ll most likely need them. The same advice holds true for any supply you use.
It’s a Personal Thing
Organization is individually, uniquely you. A desk or office that would drive you mad may seem perfectly organized to a coworker. Keeping yourself comfortably organized will reduce your stress, increase your productivity, and often influence others to view you as a competent professional.
Establish your files in advance. Having the items you need on hand will lower your frustration level.Getting organized affords a sense of control over your life, rather than having your life control you. This sense of well-being will spread into other areas of your life.
Why is the perception that you’re organized important in your career marketing effort? Organized people are viewed, rightly or not, as more capable than disorganized persons. The impression you create by being in control adds points in your favor.
Would you like 1-0-1 coaching advice on how to organize your time to help you get the most out of your career or career search? Contact us today with any questions you may have! Be sure to check out calendar for upcoming events and join our networking group as experienced guest speakers share on various subjects.