Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Predefine to Save Time

Define what you are trying to accomplish

Let's look at two people who have different approaches to goal setting. The two people in question are editors. Let's call the efficient one Larry and the inefficient one Shemp. Larry knows exactly what his job is, and he focuses on it. He avoids tasks that do not make that job happen. Shemp has a fixation about making compost piles of paper, moving office furniture around, and doing all sorts of needless activities in an effort to show how hard he works. Shemp forgets his mission is to get quality editorial product out the door. But then, he does not really know what quality editorial product is, because he has been too busy with fruitless activity to have the time to learn what it is.

Larry reviews his own work, having made a point of learning the insider secrets of editing, writing, and producing quality editorial product. Shemp, on the other hand, doesn't have the time to review his work. So, he turns in work that is unacceptably poor. Shemp measures his value as an employee by how much activity he engages in, so he is not even aware there is a problem. Shemp's idea of his job is he must "manage paper." Larry's idea is he must produce quality editorial content. Both men accomplish what they set out to do.

If you are a project manager, your job is to turn out a quality project on time, and on budget. If you focus on the minutiae of your various charts and graphs or some other details and do not actively manage the flow of work, you will be successful as a manager of minutiae but not as a project manager. Thus, if you spend 39 hours with your charts and 1 hour with the work each 40-hour week, you will get-at most-1 hour of real work done. If you spend 5 hours of each 40-hour week working with the charts and 35 managing the work, then you could get 35 hours of work done. That's a 35:1 ratio. You might spend an additional 10 hours with correspondence, etc., and end up with a 45 hour week. But, you will be 35 times as effective as the person who spends only 1 hour a week working the project and 54 hours doing other things. In those 35 hours, you can raise product quality, manage more projects, enhance customer satisfaction, add scope (read, "revenue") to a project, and generally shine as a project manager. Your paper-shuffling counterpart will succeed on luck alone-if at all.

The biggest trap people fall into is confusing the ends with the means. You must eat to live, but if you live to eat, you will have obesity-related health problems. If you play with your charts to get the work done, fine. However, if you think your job is to manage the charts instead of the project, your project will not be a stunning success.



Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.