I don’t know about you, but my job is rapid-fire. Everywhere I look there is something I could do. I can’t possibly get it all done. Actually, I don’t feel like doing some of it. Besides, some of these tasks or activities would require me to get more training. I’m sure your job is similar. How do we decide what to do or not do?
Here are some ideas. There are three tests of time: Test of Necessity, Test of Appropriateness, and the Test of Efficiency. And they should be applied in that order.
The Test of Necessity is stopping yourself before doing a task and asking, “Is this really necessary or not?” If you don’t do it, will your customer notice, will your competition notice, will your coworker notice, or will your job performance suffer?
If not, then don’t do it. If, however, it is necessary, then move to the next test.
The Test of Appropriateness is the consideration of “who” should do this task. Who would be the appropriate person who has the right attitude, knowledge, and skill to effectively perform the task? Do you have someone inside your organization that possesses that talent? Do you need to look outside your organization for the appropriate source?
Finally, there is the Test of Efficiency. How can you improve the process to be more efficient? What steps can be streamlined? What technology can be unleashed? How can you do it better and faster?
Here is a quick review. First decide if it’s necessary or not. Do you do it or not? Then identify a highly skilled person to take the action and perform the task from either inside or outside your organization. Finally, consider how you can modify the process and procedures to be as efficient as possible.
Often, we get involved in activities that may be unnecessary. Sometimes we find ourselves struggling to develop skills, which we are ill-suited. And sometimes we are so busy we don’t stop to think about how to do it better and more efficiently.
Take a few minutes a day for the next few weeks and take the three tests of time, set the curve for effectiveness, and go to the head of the class in productivity.
If you or members of your organization are struggling with time management, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide a presentation packed with time management strategies that work.