Peter Drucker, often considered the father of modern management, described time as a “unique, irreplaceable and necessary resource.”
Noting that most people take time for granted, Drucker observed, “Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.”
Why people struggle with managing time.
1. Not being clear about your priorities.
When you are not clear about your own priorities, you end up spending your time on other people’s priorities.
2. Not distinguishing between what’s urgent and what’s important.
You spend your time putting out fires instead of focusing on root causes.
Getting easily distracted and hopping from task to task, never completely finishing one thing before picking up another.
4. Hyper-focusing on details.
When you over focus on the details, you lose sight of the big picture. You might end up doing one thing really well, and not finish the project.
5. Avoiding closure.
Finding one more thing to do and not being willing to bring the project in for a landing.
Putting tasks off to the last minute and misjudging how long it will take, or not accounting for unforeseen obstacles.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
By far and away, of all the reasons you might struggle with managing your time, procrastination is the most damning. With the other five issues, at least you are accomplishing something. Procrastination means you have not even started.
3 tips to stop procrastinating.
There’s an old saying, sometimes attributed to Mark Twain, that “ if you swallow a frog every morning you can be pretty sure that nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.”
Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog offers three important rules to help you stop procrastinating. He says your “frog” is the biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.
1. Eat your frog first thing in the morning.
Do it before you become distracted or tired. You’ll have more energy for the rest of your day.
2. If you have two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.
Start with you biggest, hardest and most important task first.
3. Since eating a frog is pretty gross, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for long.
Don’t draw it out. Eat it right away and get it over with.
This post was inspired by the release of the Third Edition of Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by my colleague Brian Tracy. I consider this book one of the best investments I made in my son’s college education. I gave it to him when he was struggling with his thesis and he attributes this book with his ability to graduate on time!
I’ve done a survey of the most frequently mentioned ways of improving time management. There are 21 categories that are cover 95% of all the advice given. If you’re interested I’ve published a post summarising what I learnt.
Sure, Adam. Please share the link here so others can benefit as well.
Looking forward to reading your post summarizing your results Adam. Thanks in advance for your generosity.
Thanks Jesse. The link below takes you to my blog and a post I’ve written which is based on the analysis of the first 500 hits on google for the search term ‘productivity tips’.
I put them in a database, sorted them by frequency then reviewed each one.
There are 21 categories that emerge. So if you want to take a look at what I found here’s the link.
Nicely curated summary, Adam. Thank you for sharing it.