Discover another way to manage time using seven steps

By Stefanie Krievins, coach and founder, The Heart Projects

One of the great equalizers among humans is that weekly we all have a total of 168 hours. From the CEO to the receptionist to the HR director to the development director to the case manager, it’s the same number.

As 2016 approaches its end, each of us has a choice as to how to spend those hours and how to meet end-of-year goals. We can either ….

  1. Create a productive focus by actively managing time, calendar, work priorities and interactions with colleagues; or
  2. Allow being overwhelmed and bad stress to overtake mood and communication style, leaving us with a tendency to try to multi-task and take on too much work.

Admittedly, most of us are somewhere in between. There is a way to have more of the first option, however, and that means learning the seven disciplines of productivity.

However, productivity is more complex than just time management.

Many people think they can just manage their time better in order to get all of their work done. Time management is just one important aspect of productivity.

The HR director who manages her time well will keep a scheduled one-hour meeting to one hour. The HR director who manages her productivity will ask:

  • What needs to be accomplished in this meeting?
  • Do we need a meeting?
  • If so, can it be completed in a 30-minute walking meeting, instead of just sitting in the conference room?
  • Who are the critical people who must be there to make the best decisions?
  • Since this topic is of strategic importance, what’s the best morning block of time to book so we can all bring our sharpest thinking?
  • What will be removed from our workload or pushed out until the next quarter if we’re adding work to our plates? Let’s add this to the agenda.

Find the focus you need to hit your goals through these seven disciplines.

Productivity combines these seven disciplines that lead to having more impact:

  1. Focus: Your mental and physical focus are on one thing attime and you manage your relationships, calendar and physical space to make that happen.
  2. Impactful work criteria: You ask a series of questions to ensure you’re doing work that is meaningful to you and your role within the organization.
  3. Presence: You’re self aware and in the moment.
  4. Time management: You’re realistic with your time and create flexibility in your day for the unexpected.
  5. Energy management: You tackle the work that requires the most thought and creativity in the morning. You also take small breaks, drink plenty of water, and eat well throughout the day so you don’t create the afternoon slump.
  6. Decline others’ expectations and priorities: You say, ‘No,’ more than you say, ‘Yes’ because you have focus.
  7. Priority setting: Chances are you have multiple items on your to-do list right now. They’re not all urgent or important. When you manage your priorities you’re able to rank them based on their level of importance and urgency.

Focus is essential because there will always be more need than resources in this nonprofit work.

Focus allows the first choice to be goals and then meet them while feeling in control, successful and less stressed. A lack of focus causes too many goals, the addition of new goals throughout the year and then disappointment from a lack of success.

Ultimately work suffers because of this lack of focus: poor work products, missed deadlines, “forgotten” tasks, poor communication, etc.

Your job isn’t to do it all. Instead, it is ALWAYS to do the work that matters. Instead of trying to do it all, have it all, be it all, having focus creates productivity. This means taking radical personal responsibility for time, emotions and so much more.

These seven disciplines can have a profound effect on your work and ability to end 2016 knowing that everything was accomplished given the resources available. Don’t let this year end without really focusing in on what truly matters. Next year will begin even stronger because of it!

stefanie Stefanie Krievins is the founder and coach for The Heart Projects. She offers training and coaching for individuals and forward-thinking organizations. Programs include executive coaching, life/career coaching (especially for nonprofit staff or those who want to have a nonprofit career), strategic-plan execution and the Problem Solvers School.