Take Small Steps to
Improve Time Management
When you are really behind, small gains in efficiency and
time management might not make much sense to you. While these efforts add up to
real improvement, you probably feel like you do not have the time to take baby
steps: You need a major change, and you need it now.
On the contrary, small steps are the only way out when you
are way behind. Instead of looking for a quick fix, make the following changes,
and commit to making realistic progress:
- Prove you can do it. Overcome one small change to prove to
yourself that change is both possible and beneficial. Once you see that you can
tackle a problem or meet a goal, you will have the confidence to do it
again and again.
- Prioritize. If you are facing a backlog of tasks, pick a few
items that you can dig into right away. Choose ones that will have an
immediate, appreciable impact.
- Do not get ahead of yourself. Once you have a few small wins
under your belt, will you be ready to tackle a massive overhaul of the way
you work? Instead of committing to revising every single practice within
the next month, keep identifying specific high-priority steps that you can take
right now. They will add up to genuine change.
- Share your strategy. Others may be as frustrated as you are
with your former ways of working. Let everyone know that you are making
lasting improvements. Acknowledge the time it will take honestly: “I may
have 999 miles to go, but I am picking up the pace right now.” Your
honesty and drive will inspire others to do the same.
Build on Excitement
Excitement is one characteristic of successful workplaces.
Excited workers show abundant energy and willingness to complete projects and
assignments on time and on budget. They have faith, hope and passion. However,
workers who are too excited may need your assistance to calm down, take stock
and move from excitement to action. You might be able to generate some
excitement among your staff, but the next step is to get them to buckle down and
focus. To focus the energy of your staff, ask a few questions.
- “What concrete steps can
we take to turn this energy into an action plan? What is the first thing
we should do?”
- “What might need to change
so everyone involved feels as excited about this as we do?”
- “What are the parts of the
plan that we feel a little less excited about? How should we address
- “Whom should we involve so
we can stay excited about this?”
Adapted from Communication
Briefings, June 2011