Time Management - How to Balance Tasks in the Workplace

By Jeremy Blake on September 21, 2015

Over the last 13 years of training teams and managers one reoccurring theme is ‘lack of time.’

We run a couple of Time Management workshops that challenge the way individuals perceive the time they have.

Of course, time doesn’t change, we all have 24 hours in a day. All that changes is our ability to use that time in the most productive way.

And that comes down to personal choices and priorities. We will naturally gravitate towards things we ‘like’ doing’. So what do I like doing?

I like having creative strategy meetings. Planning ahead, creating new things to do, to grow the business.

I like speaking to favourite clients, hearing their plans, and working out how we can help.

I like frontline sales, pitching to new clients, or current clients, for new projects – nothing beats that – to present, and sell.

I like developing new technological ideas to enhance what we do.

I like delivering sales and management training to engaged people.

I like speaking at conferences, to motivate managers and salespeople to do better.

I like writing creatively.

So that all sounds wonderful, but in order to be able to do those things I need to be doing several things I am less keen on:

1 Getting people together to have those creative meetings – which takes much longer than the meetings!

2 My clients are not always available for me to speak to, and may not have their plans formulated. I know its nothing personal, they just may not be ready to speak to me yet.

3 To get to the frontline sales scenario involves several phone calls, emails, sometimes failed meeting attempts, the preparation of presentations and other materials.

4 Technology is fantastic – but takes time to get right – I need to plan these developments to give me time to do other stuff.

5 To deliver training I often need to create the content which requires meetings, observation, and logistical organisation.

6 The travel too and from conferences can often be a day out – when I cannot do ANY of the above very effectively.

7 To get the chance to write creatively I need to get the ‘less creative’ writing done first, which though important is less pleasurable…

Now there’s plenty of other things but I think you can see my point. And clearly this is all about prioritisation.

As well as all that I also have a company to consider, and all that goes with that responsibility. So if I was given yet more to do I could reach for the ‘I don’t have time’ button.

If you work in a commercial organisation, the conversation is about making it clear what your purpose is, in customer terms, and designing your work ethic, and productivity around that.

If you are working on low profit, low touch, time consuming drudgery, even if you like it, then if it goes against your commercial purpose you don’t need a conversation, or a workshop, you just need to wake up and re-evaluate your list of tasks.

Define that purpose - ‘Our purpose is to…’ then look at the lists and cross off ANYTHING that will contribute to defeating that purpose, or slowing down that purpose. Because it is not time that is the enemy – it is your poor prioritisation.