06 Mar Reach Goals Faster by Allocating Time More Effectively. Here’s How.
“Time expands to meet my needs.” I often say this mantra when feeling overwhelmed or pressed for time. It usually calms me down and allows me to focus on the tasks at hand.
Until it doesn’t.
Have you ever felt like everything on your plate is a high priority? It’s a common feeling when deadlines are looming and resources are scarce.
Your work week somehow goes from a manageable 40-45 hours to 55, 60, 70+ hours, resulting in stress, relationship distress and even illness. It’s difficult to maintain excellence or happiness when your schedule is stretched thin for long periods of time.
When time no longer expands to meet your needs, it’s critical to address your priorities and schedule to reach your goals faster.
How to Reach Goals Faster by Allocating Your Time More Effectively
1. Determine Essential and Secondary functions
Essential functions are those duties and responsibilities that are the main focus and purpose of your work. Secondary functions are tasks you do that may or may not be critical, but take up time. Write down your essential and secondary functions in a table or spreadsheet.
2. Note the percentage of time you spend on these functions NOW
Next to each function or task, include an estimated percent of time you spend on each. The percentage of time allotted to both the essential and secondary functions should total 100%. The smallest increment of time identified should be 5%. This may require that you combine some tasks.
Note: your total needs to equal 100% even if you’re tempted go beyond 100%.
Clients have asked if there is a “correct” period of time in which to determine their percentages. For example, you might spend more time on administrative work at the end of the month, but less so during the month. Choose a period of time that provides the most accurate picture of your work over time. For example, a six month period may give a more accurate picture than a month.
3. Compare to your highest priorities and goals
Compare your percentage of time to your highest priorities and goals. Are you spending the appropriate amount of time on your essential functions? If so, keep up the great work! If you’re like most, there is room for an adjustment of your time.
4. Define your ideal time allocation for the future
Using the format in step 1, determine the ideal percentage of time per essential and secondary functions. Even if you think it’s not possible to make changes, allow yourself to imagine what your ideal time allocation may be. Then write down your ideal state.
For example, you may discover that you’re spending 5% of your time managing your team. If you think spending 15% of your time developing and coaching others will result in a larger ROI for your division, then allow yourself to put 15% down. Then minimize the percentage for another task that you feel is taking up too much of your time. You will determine how to make this a reality in Step 5.
5. Create change
How can you make these changes a reality? Do you need to say “No” to specific requests or tasks? Can you delegate some of your tasks to others or remove some work all together?
If you find yourself getting stuck with how you’re going to reallocate your time, I recommend informing your boss, a peer or teammate of your full plate and ask for suggestions. You might be pleasantly surprised by how they respond and the suggestions they give.
Seeing how you spend your time versus thinking about it are two very different things. When the information is in black and white, you’re able to make the necessary changes to reach your goals.
Time is one of your most valuable and limited resources. Use it wisely.
Let me know what you discover with this exercise. If you get stuck or have questions, I’m a click away.
Cheering you on,