One of the most valuable resources managers, executives or anyone else has is time. No matter how much capital, inventory, tooling, real estate or other resources you may have, you can not purchase or create more time, but you can utilize time management skills to use the time you do have more effectively.
A question that often arises in our time management training class, Master of TimeSM, is how much time can I save? Let’s take a look at one way to answer this question.
Imagine if by using time management skills you could save five minutes 12 times each business day. Five minutes may not sound like much, but if you can consistently gain back five minutes, 12 times each business day, the resulting time saved multiplies exponentially. Since there are five days in each week and 52 weeks in each year, it’s simply a matter of multiplying these factors. The equation would be: 5 (minutes) x 12 x 5 (business days/week) x 52 (weeks/year), which equals 15,600 minutes per year. Since there are 60 minutes in each hour, that would equal 260 hours each year now available. By saving five minutes a few times each day, you can carve out another 260 hours each year to do whatever you want with. This is the power of time management.
Think about what you can accomplish with an extra 260 hours per year. You can use the extra time to get more done than your competition, you can use the time to enhance your personal relationships, you can use the time for a vacation or you can use it for a combination of all of these.
The first step of course, is to begin. Learning to be efficient about managing your time allows you to be more effective and to accomplish more than you ever imagined. There are a number of aspects to time management skills, too many to cover in this single column, but one key strategy is to learn to focus on what is truly important.
In a previous column, I wrote about the 80/20 rule. As an executive you need to assure that you understand that 20 percent of your activities provide 80 percent of the results and focus on those 20 percent. I call these HPAs, or high payoff activities. You need to focus on these activities and learn the required techniques to assure you minimize time bandits.
Focusing on your most important activities combined with determination can be a powerful combination. Rocky Marciano was a unique master of time. He was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world from Sept. 23, 1952, to April 27, 1956. Marciano was legendary for his singular focus on training for months before a fight and exercising every day of the year. He would shut out the rest of the world and train continuously before any major fight. The result of this intense focus on his HPAs was an astonishing record. He was untied and undefeated through his career which finished 49-0 upon his retirement. Throughout history only a few boxers have retired with this type of record. Clearly time management skills are critical to assure success no matter what type of business you are involved with. Marciano’s success shows what is possible through focus, commitment and determination.
The power of time management is that while you cannot change time, you can change your behavior and use the time you have more efficiently. Learning about time management and becoming more effective at time management allows you to achieve greater productivity and performance each and every day.