time and moneyMany business owners are chasing improvements to their time management as a way to achieve more in less time, and achieve goals faster.

Good idea you would think. Sadly, this is not so in many cases.

Don’t get me wrong, being proactive about improving how we utilize the time we have in our business to leverage better results is a damn fine idea. I am all for it.

However, many business owners are making a big mistake in what they are focussing their time management efforts ON.

This is actually keeping them stuck in the day-to-day “noise” of their business and costing them the results they really want to achieve.

Here’s why:

There you are, sitting with your current to-do list, working out what you will do when and scheduling the tasks in whatever time management system that you use.

And that is where the mistake lies. It is a mistake because when your approach to time management is driven by nailing your to-do list, you are just managing the noise and running on the status quo hamster wheel day in and day out.

And the problem with the status quo hamster wheel is that it goes nowhere.

Most to-do lists are driven by the busy-ness of the day-to-day noise of tasks that may well feel urgent (it seems we live in a world where everything is urgent!) but they aren’t the most important goals that will move the business or you forward. Are the tasks on your list falling into this category?

If so, it is time for change.

But change to what?

Well, the solution to this time management mistake is this:

  • Put your to-do list aside for a moment.
  • Dig out the vision you have for your business. Don’t have your vision written down? Then that is your starting point.
  • Next, break your vision into goals that, when achieved, will deliver that vision. Make sure each goal has a timeframe assigned to it.
  • For each goal, work out the specific actions that need to be taken, in the order they need to be taken, to turn your goals into reality. Form the things you have identified into an action plan.
  • Then, and only then, schedule those things in your time management calendar – first.
  • Once you have this stuff nailed down and firmly in your time management scheduler, then you can start incorporating the other stuff on your to-do list.

The bottom line is this: Your time management efforts should be driven by your vision, goals and action plans first and foremost. You should be prioritizing and managing your effectiveness, not your busy-ness.

Time is the most valuable resource we have. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to ensure you are spending the majority of your time on the stuff that will keep you on track to achieving your most important goals.

Effective time management isn’t actually about time management at all. It is about self management. Managing yourself to do what is most important first, consistently, and using effective time management strategies to support that focus.

What action will you take to ensure you don’t fall into the time management mistake above? What changes can you make to ensure that your time management systems are driven by your vision and most important goals? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.