In the situation we find ourselves with Covid-19, we have many thousands of people working from home at the moment, which can actually bring some interesting new opportunities. Admittedly, people have been working from home for many years, but having this amount of extended time at home is unusual.
I’ve personally been training and coaching people to use their time in a balanced and productive way for many years, one of the questions which regularly come up is how can I find / make time to do the important tasks like planning and preparing for the next opportunity, when I’m so busy dealing with day-to-day stuff.
Well, now is that time to step back and take stock and prepare for the next opportunities coming your way. There are a number of themes to this and I will explore each theme in a little more detail, but the main tips are:
- Identify what’s important to you
- Identify what will be important to your customers / market place now and in the future.
- How are things likely to change for you
- What problems are your clients going to face which you can help them solve
What’s important to you?
You’ve probably come across the time management matrix contrasting urgent vs important.
Let’s just separate those two for a minute:
Urgent means – wants attention now, or has a tight time frame
Important means – contributes to your goals or important relationships
Essentially the time management matrix has four boxes to help us use our time effectively. Top left is urgent and important, in here go tasks which need doing now because they contribute to our goals and they have a tight time frame. We’ll call this quadrant 1 or Q1, why? Because it makes sense that these tasks are done first.
The box top right of the matrix would be important but not urgent – in here go tasks which contribute to our goals but aren’t urgent yet. Things like planning our future, anticipating changes and opportunities, organizing time with people we care about. This is called Q2, because logically we do these after the Q1 items
These are often the tasks which get put off because we’re too busy in Q1, or distracted with things which are urgent (wanting attention now) but actually far less important than the items in Q2.
These items in Q3, bottom left in the matrix, (urgent but not important) should really be done after the Q2 items because they have less impact on our goals. The challenge is that they are demanding attention now, so if we’re not careful, we catch ourselves doing them just to get them out of the way.
What we have now is a great opportunity, whilst working from home, so we have potentially less of the Q3 items to distract us, and we can focus on the things which really matter in Q2
How do we do this in practice? Set time aside to answer these questions, as they will help you plan and then focus your energy in the right places
- Identify what’s important to you, what are the goals you would like to achieve now, or when we all come out of the Covid-19 situation? Who are the important people to you? Give time to those important relationships while you have the opportunity by being at home. Create a plan to achieve the goals by answering the questions in step 2:
- Identify what will be important to your customers and your market place now and in the future, how are things likely to change for you, what problems are your clients going to face which you can help them solve. Great opportunities are identified when people step back from their current day-to-day stuff and consider where they need to put their attention. The Covid-19 situation is temporary and it will bring new opportunities. Plan for those now by anticipating what those opportunities will be, what will clients’ needs be, how can we help them?
- Once you’ve identified a client need, write it down at the top of a large piece of paper. Consider what you would have to do to satisfy that need, or could do to satisfy that need and write each answer / task on a single sticky note, keep adding sticky notes until you have lots of ideas / tasks and then group them into subjects or headings – you have the beginning of a plan.
- Decide on which ideas / tasks are priorities and put them in order with some target dates against them – now your plan should be taking shape
I hope the above was useful either as something new or a helpful reminder. If you would like to find out more about our online training sessions covering time management email me at firstname.lastname@example.org