7 Habits of Time Management

493994744I have always been inspired by the late Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I’ve read it many times and have spoken to groups and companies about the Habits. Recently I spoke to a company about time management. My thoughts about this subject are directly related to Covey’s 7 Habits, specifically the 3rd Habit “Put First Things First”.

When people talk about time management they often talk about efficiency of time management. People often think about multi-tasking in this regard. I think multi-tasking is often the enemy of effective time management, which is far more powerful than merely efficient time management. So with full credit to Covey’s 7 Habits here are Lonny’s 7 Habits of Time Management.

1. Say NO to the Unimportant

This comes right out of Covey’s Habit #3–First things first. The 4 quadrants are the basis of this habit. One needs to say NO to the unimportant in order to focus on the important. Sometimes this is hard to do particularly for “pleasers” who never want to say no. But there’s a fine line between being a pleaser and being taken advantage of.

2. You do not need respond to emails in 5 minutes. Think before you respond.

This is a pet peeve of mine. I do not feel I need to respond the email/text/message of the moment just because someone wants to ask me something. If it’s basic info that takes 15 seconds to respond that’s fine. But often greater thought is required and an immediate response can set off a email chain (or worse yet argument). So pause because you reply (better yet don’t use email to reply if the issue requires deeper discussion–see below)

3. Your cell phone is not your friend in the workplace

Catching Pokemon, playing solitaire, texting friends, etc is not really important. Put your phone down (or away)

4. Social media is great. But is the ultimate quadrant IV activity

Here too posting thoughts du jour about your support for candidate x or y is not really a good workplace activity. I submit it’s not a good activity at all. Do you know anybody who is ever convinced about the merits of a political candidate from a Facebook post?

5. Use email for content, NOT emotion
This relates to habit #2. Don’t be so fast to respond via email. (See the following 2 Habits)

6. Use the phone more “Reach out and touch someone”

Yes, I know the Ayer campaign for AT&T is a relic, but the concept of actually talking to someone is really powerful

7. Talk to people–Meet face-to-face

Better yet, actually meet someone since as we all know most communication is non-verbal and body language is critical in truly understanding the other party.

These Habits may not be as profound as Covey’s but they work well and will make you far more effective in managing your time. Try ‘em. You’ll be glad you did.

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