Create More Hours in Your Day

We spoke with Andy Winig about Time Management. A lifelong learner and advocate of leadership development, Andy’s program centered around the Collective Engineering™ Leadership Model, which he designed based on his 20 years of experience developing high-performing teams as an entrepreneur, software engineering manager, franchisee, and community leader. Andy shared three types of lists that can be used to help create more hours in your day: The Stress ListThe Daily Checklist, and The Responsibilities List.

The Stress List

The Problem: Picture yourself lying awake at night, tossing and turning as your mind races over the things you need to do and the impending doom that will result if you forget to do them. We’ve all been there. It seems it isn’t until we are lying in bed attempting to rest our bodies that our minds become the most restless.

The Solution
: The Stress List. The next time you find yourself in this position, Andy suggests getting out of bed and writing down everything you are thinking about (i.e. the items that are currently causing you stress). He says you will usually find that the list will be much shorter than you anticipated it to be, and that once you have it in writing it will be easier to see how these items can be broken down and tackled easily. The final step of the process is to create a quick to-do for each of the items on your stress list to be accomplished first thing the next day. For example, if you need to collaborate with someone on a project, resolve to call that person first thing in the morning so that you will be one step closer to completing it. In theory, once you have taken your stresses out of your racing mind and captured them on paper, when you return to bed you’ll sleep like a baby!

The Daily Checklist

The Problem: Let’s say there’s something you want to do every day in order to accomplish a goal. Maybe it’s getting up at 5 AM, jogging 30 minutes, or making 5 sales calls for your business. Whatever the daily habit may be, you know that if you could get yourself to complete it every day, without fail, you would be happier, more productive, and closer to achieving your goals. But you just can’t seem to follow through. You forget, rationalize, or make excuses, or you accomplish the task on some days but find you lack consistency.

The Solution:
 The Daily Checklist. In order to provide yourself the additional incentive to accomplish your chosen daily tasks, simply give yourself the ability to check off having completed them each day. The satisfaction of writing that check mark can be a strong motivator and, conversely, you might find yourself doing the tasks just to avoid having to look at a chart devoid of check marks.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Task #1
(jog 30 min)

X

X

X

X

X

Task #2
(make 5 sales calls)

X

X

X

X

X

Task #3
(read my children a story)

X

X

X

X

Some important tips for the Daily Checklist to be most effective:

  • Don’t schedule more than one hour’s worth of activity for your daily tasks (it will be difficult to complete successfully).
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete everything on the list every day. It takes time and practice to develop a new habit. Just try again the next day and keep trying until the tasks have become second nature.
  • The daily tasks are not cumulative. Each day is a fresh start. If you were supposed to make 5 sales calls on Monday and you didn’t, don’t try to make 10 calls on Tuesday to make up for it. Set to accomplishing the daily task each day, regardless of what happened the day before.

The Responsibilities List

The Problem: You have a big project coming up and you know you’re going to need help, but you’re not sure how or what to delegate. Maybe you’re throwing a party, or putting together a proposal at work. Whether it is your family, friends, employees, or coworkers, you need to figure out a way to distribute the workload while satisfying everyone’s needs.

The Solution
: The Responsibilities List. Start by creating a basic list of the items that need to be accomplished. If you’re throwing a party, you might write down “choose a theme, buy decorations, decide on the menu, send invitations, decide on entertainment.” Next, gather your team together (whoever is helping you accomplish the project) and ask them to help you brainstorm a more detailed list of “to-do” items. By talking through the list together, you are less likely to forget anything. The final and most important step in the process is to ask team members to volunteer to complete each task as it is added to the list. You’ll find that people will choose the items that they most enjoy or are most able to accomplish, and therefore the tasks are much more likely to get done than if you had assigned them blindly. Your team members will be happy and the project will be completed properly.

A great way to track the projects is using Google Docs so everyone can see the progress.

This article is based on TAPP’s January 2011 webinar, “Create More Hours in Your Day” with Andy Winig. To learn more about Andy, click here.

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