Discover 4 ways for you to make better use of your time and leave space in your diary for more holidays, time with your family and friends or just quiet time with yourself.
When are you most ‘full of beans’- in the morning, afternoon or evening? By diarising your day by segments that reflect your level of energy throughout the day you can schedule and do your most important work when your energy is at its highest. In this context, important relates to achievement of your goals. But how do you know which of your goals is most important?
The Urgent v Important Matrix
This a simple, practical and effective tool for prioritizing your to-do list based on the level of urgency and importance of each task. It's sometimes referred to as the 'Eisenhower Matrix' or 'Eisenhower Decision Matrix' and is one of the easiest time management strategies to implement.
Don’t take the monkey (the monkey being the problem). When team members come to you with problems ask them “What is your recommendation?” This way they learn to come to you with solutions. It also gives you an opportunity to agree or disagree or coach them by building onto their solution.
What it looks like it practice
The situation… Taking back the monkey That’s not my monkey!
A staff member stops you in the hall and says, “We have a problem. I can’t get the number we need for the budget in time to submit the grant proposal.” You say, “I’ll go talk to Gary right now about getting the numbers faster.” You say, “That is a problem. Why don’t you get on my calendar for later today and bring some potential solutions to the meeting?”
Your fundraising director reports that donations aren’t hitting her projections for the quarter. You say, “Let’s add in an extra fundraising mailing and talk to Jen about sending extra email alerts.” You say, “At our next check-in, let’s talk about what options you’re considering to get donations back up.”
You receive a draft of a briefing paper that emphasizes the wrong points. You rewrite the briefing paper so that it’s ready to go out. You talk with the staff member about the elements that need changing and ask her to do the rewrite.
Your staff member tells you the consultant she’s working with won’t make the edits to the documents you’ve discussed. You call the consultant and work with her to get the edits you need. You ask, “How do you plan to handle it? I’m happy to help if you’d like – just tell me what you’d like me to do.”
Your deputy asks you to send an email to a funder, asking her to host an event, since you know the funder better. You add it to your to-do list and eventually send the email. You ask your deputy to draft the email for you.
For a more complete explanation of how to ensure that staff members don’t “pass the buck” back to their managers, see “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?” by William Oncken, Jr., and Donald Wass in Harvard Business Review, November-December 1999.
Eat the frog. Brain Tracy wrote a book “Eat the Frog…21 ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time”. Mark Twain actually is the origin of the quote “Eat the frog”, he called the toughest task the frog because it was ugly and bumpy. Personally, I like frogs so I like to say ‘Eat the Toad’ as toads really are ugly and bumpy. The idea is to identify the task that is your Toad and do that task first, because if you do that nothing could possibly be worse.
Learn more during episode 8 of Leadership on the Run.