|matrix vision newsletter
Self Management Issue
March, 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 3
|Story of the Month|
A lecturer at a university is giving a pre-exam lecture on time management. On his desk is a bag of sand, a bag of pebbles, some big rocks and bucket. He asks for a volunteer to put all three grades of stone into the bucket, and a keen student duly steps up to carry out the task, starting with the sand, then the pebbles, then the rocks, which do not all fit in the bucket.
"This is an analogy of poor time management," trills the lecturer, "If you'd have put the rocks in first, then the pebbles, then the sand, all three would have fit. This is much like time management, in that by completing your biggest tasks first, you leave room to complete your medium tasks, then your smaller ones. By completing your smallest tasks first you spend so much time on them you leave yourself unable to complete either medium of large tasks satisfactorily. Let me show you.."
And the lecturer re-fills the bucket, big rocks first, then pebbles, then sand, shaking the bucket between each so that everything fits.
"But Sir," says one student, slouched at the back of the theatre, "You've forgotten one thing.."
At which the student approaches the bucket, produces a can of lager, opens it and pours into the bucket. "No matter how busy you are," quips the student with a smile, "There's always time for a quick beer."
|Self Management Quotes|
"I try to take each day one at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once."
"If it wasn't for the last minute nothing would get done."
"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
"Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life."
"If you want to make good use of your time, you've got to know what's most important and then give it all you've got."
"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."
"Until we can manage TIME, we can manage nothing else."
"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."
"Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save."
"A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life."
|Welcome to the matrix vision newsletter for March. This month's newsletter is focussed on Self Management. The concentration is on how we manage ourselves in relation to the time available.
This newsletter presents a few tips and alerts us to some of the pitfalls on how we go about the process of self/time management in our business. We have articles including:
- self management techniques,
- some of Brian Tracy's ideas on self organistion
- some statistics on time wasting,
- Ivy Lee's famous advice
- some tips on email productivity
- Some words of wisdom from Alan Lakein
- Stephen Covey's Time Management Matrix and
- Using feedback to improve our time management
Also check out the special offer for the Sydney Hills Chamber Breakfast.
Enjoy your reading and as always your feedback would be welcome!
If any of the information interests you and if you would like to find out how it can help you please contact us. We would love to talk with you.
Some of the practical techniques you can adopt are to:
- learn to cope with stress;
- develop your self esteem and personal confidence;
- develop effective strategies to cope with conflicts;
- develop a positive attitude to work and life;
- be patient - skills develop gradually;
- reappraise your situation regularly and make the adjustments required to succeed;
- learn from feedback to prevent repeating your mistakes;
- maintain a healthy lifestyle;
- reward yourself with time off and
- learn to manage your time better.
We cannot manage time; we can only manage how
we use it. That's why time management is really about self-management.
Most people bristle at the idea of becoming a slave to time: "The Swiss have clocks, but we have time", said a wise old man in Bhutan. A certain degree of time and self-management is nonetheless necessary if you wish to be effective and to achieve your goals.
Many people rely on their memory as their management tool, but most find that at some point their memory lets them down. "Sorry, I forgot" is not an uncommon statement. This is not necessarily a catastrophe, but in some instances forgetting can have unfortunate consequences.
You might lose an important contract or you might even lose your job.
RULE 1:Write things down - use a diary and a calendar.
- Keep a "things to do" list.
- Enter all your appointments and deadlines, putting in a reminder maybe a week before the deadline falls.
- Review your appointments and deadlines regularly, informing those involved in good time if you want to change them.
- Plan your week: Make the "things to do" list, get an overview over your appointments and deadlines.
- Plan your day.
- At the end of each day and at the end of each week make a review. Did you do all that you had planned to do? Did you meet your deadlines? Did you attend the scheduled meetings? Were you late? Why?
RULE 2: Be realistic about what you can manage to do
- Do not get overloaded: you have to be realistic about what you can overcome in the given amount of time.
- Prioritise: decide what are the most important issues.
- Say no, if the task is beyond what you are capable of doing.
- Remember to make time for your private life - family, friends, hobbies and your own relaxation. This is where you renew your energy.
Ideas for Personal Organisation
Neatness is a key habit for personal productivity. You can dramatically increase your productivity and output by simply cleaning up and organising your workspace. You've no doubt heard it said, "Order is heaven's first law."
Begin your process of getting organised by clearing your desk of everything but the one thing that you're working on at the moment. If necessary, place things in drawers, on the credenza behind you, in the wastebasket, in cupboards, even on the floor. Do whatever is necessary to turn your desk into a clear, clean uncluttered work area, with just one thing - the most important thing - before you.
Assemble everything you need before you begin the task, just as a good cook gets out all the ingredients necessary to prepare a dish before s/he begins. The rule is that you should be able to reach out and touch everything you need to do the job.
Finally, make sure you handle every piece of paper only once. Make a decision to do something with the item when you pick it up - which means not picking it up unless you're ready to act on it. It's better to stack it up and put the paper aside for appropriate action later than to keep shuffling and reshuffling it on your desk.
The four things you can do with any piece of paper are:
- Throw it away. The fastest way to save time in reading something is simply to throw it away and not read it at all. This approach should be applied to junk mail, unwanted subscription appeals and everything else that isn't relevant to your goals. Use the wastebasket to get rid of reading materials that have been hanging around for months. Ask yourself, "If I didn't read this, would there be any negative consequences?"
- Delegate it to somebody else. One of the keys to successful personal management is to delegate everything that can possibly be done by somebody else.
- Take personal action. You can take action on the piece of paper. Get a file folder and put the word "Action" on the tab or, better yet, get a red folder in which you put all the items coming to you that need action. Place it where you can see it clearly.
- File it for future reference. But before you file it away, remember that 80% of papers filed are never needed, used or seen again. Placing an item in the files creates work, so before filing anything, ask yourself what would happen if you couldn't find it. If there are no negative consequences, or you could get the information somewhere else, then throw it out.
Time Power - Brian Tracy
|Time Management Snippets|
Record Number of People Waste Time at Work
Scheduling a hair appointment, reading the newspaper online, chatting with co-workers-we all do it. But how often do we do it?
Salary.com's fourth annual Wasting Time at Work survey found that:
- 64% of respondents reported wasting one hour or less each day; 22% wasted approximately two hours daily; and 14% wasted three or more hours each workday.
- The top five time-wasting activities were: Internet use (48% of respondents), socialising with co-workers (33%), conducting personal business (30%), personal phone calls (19%), and long lunches or breaks (15%).
- The top five reasons for wasting time were: being unsatisfied with work (46%), feeling underpaid for their work (34%), not having deadlines or incentives (24%), work hours being too long (19%), and being distracted by co-workers or relatives (18%).
- Individuals with at least a bachelor's degree tend to waste slightly more time during the workday.
Salary.com said this is probably because these employees hold higher-level positions
within their organisations and are not under as close supervision.
Journal of Accountancy (February, 2009)
Managers' Top 10 Timewasters
A survey conducted of 1385 Australian Managers revealed the top 10 timewasters:
Lack of Objectives, Priorities and Planning
Crisis Management, Shifting Priorities
Attempting Too much at Once
Personal Disorganisation (e.g. cluttered desk)
Lack of Self-Discipline
Inability to say "NO"
Procrastination - Indecision
Ivy Lee's Advice
Ivy Lee was a management consultant in the USA in the 1920's. The most famous story about Ivy Lee was when he was consulting to Charles M Schwab, the head of the Bethlehem Steel Company. Charles Schwab was concerned about how he and his fellow executives could improve their productivity and asked Ivy for advice. Ivy wrote down some words on a piece of paper and gave it to Mr Schwab. Ivy said , "Mr Schwab, pay me what you think this is worth".
On that piece of paper was:
Write down the most important things you have to do tomorrow. Now, number them in the order of their true importance. The first thing tomorrow morning, start working on an item Number 1, and stay with it until completed. Then take item Number 2 the same way. Then Number 3, and so on. Don't worry if you don't complete everything on the schedule. At least you will have completed the most important projects before getting to the less important ones.
Several weeks later, Ivy Lee received a letter in which Schwab informed him that his list idea was the most profitable thing, from a money standpoint, that he had ever learned.
Enclosed in the letter was a check for $25,000 - a considerable amount in those days. At the time, the average worker in the US was being paid $2 per day.
Productivity Tips for E-Mail
As more and more business is conducted via e-mail, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages you receive every day. Following these tips will ensure that you spend your time and energy managing your business - not your inbox.
Use spam filtering. Nearly all e-mail services and client applications now provide for some kind of spam filtering. Find out what's included by your service provider and client application, and turn it on. Most spam filters do a good job of separating the spam from valid e-mail, and they learn which is which from you. So, once you enable the filter, be sure to check the spam folder that collects the garbage, and identify the e-mail you don't consider to be spam.
Create folders. Use your inbox like a to-do list, and treat each message as an action item. Once you've read a message, move it into a folder based on the project or client. A rational folder structure keeps your inbox manageable, and puts vital information at your fingertips.
Use filters or rules. Filters look at incoming messages and sort them into different folders automatically, based on parameters you've specified. This can help you prioritise and categorise your incoming messages.
Label your messages. Most e-mail programs let you color-code or label your incoming messages. Labels can visually separate your messages into subcategories, making it easier to shuffle through them later. For example, you could label urgent messages red, contracts green, invoices blue, and completed tasks orange. Most filters or rules can be set to label your messages automatically.
Consolidate accounts. If you have multiple e-mail accounts, configure your e-mail client to check them all for incoming mail. Then set up filters to move mail from specific accounts to specific folders, or to label the messages with different colors so you can differentiate them at a glance.
Use an address book. Typing long e-mail addresses over and over wastes time, especially when you can store them in an address book for automatic retrieval. Using your address book means you don't have to remember any e-mail addresses or sift through old messages to find them.
Use signatures. Instead of typing your name and contact information at the end of every message, set up a signature file with the relevant information, and let your e-mail program automatically append your "sig file" to the end of every outgoing message. If your e-mail program supports it, set up different signatures for clients, friends, and coworkers.
Create stationery. Electronic stationery is a framework or template that you can reuse for a given type of correspondence. You might set up stationery that contains a specific version of your signature, a tagline, the date, and even a "Dear [Client]" line. Using stationery saves time and ensures that your professional e-mail correspondences are consistent in appearance.
Discard e-mail. Delete messages that have no value to you or your business. And to save disk space, remember to empty your Trash folder regularly if your e-mail program doesn't do it automatically.
Probably the best book I have ever read on self/time management is "How to Get Control of Your Time and your Life" by Alan Lakein. At the end of the book Lakein lists 61 reasons under the heading How I Save Time. Here are just a few of those points:
I don't waste time regretting my failures
I try to find a new technique each day that I can use to help gain time
I have a light lunch so I don't get sleepy in the afternoons
I review my lifetime goals list each day and identify activities to do each day to further my goals
I plan first thing in the morning and set priorities for the day
I keep a list of specific items to be done each day, arrange them in priority order, and then do my best to get the important ones done as soon as possible
I start with A's, not B's or C's
I concentrate on one thing at a time
I set deadlines for myself and others
I try not to waste other people's time
I delegate everything I possibly can
I handle each piece of paper only once
I'm continually asking myself "What is the best use of my time right now?"
If you want help with some of the issues mentioned in this newsletter please give us a call. We would be glad to help. For more information on matrix vision's
time management program "Managing Our Time" CLICK HERE
|Stephen Covey's Time Management Matrix|
Basically, we spend time in one of four ways.
As you see, the two factors that define an activity are urgent and important. Urgent means it requires immediate attention. It's "Now!" Urgent things act on us. A ringing phone is urgent. Most people can't stand the thought of just allowing the phone to ring. You could spend hours preparing materials, you could get all dressed up and travel to a person's office to discuss a particular issue, but if the phone were to ring while you were there, it would generally take precedence over your personal visit.
If you were to phone someone, there aren't many people who would say, "I'll get to you in 15 minutes; just hold." But those same people would probably let you wait in an office for at least that long while they completed a telephone conversation with someone else.
Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us; they insist on action. They're often popular with others. They're usually right in front of us. And often they are pleasant, easy, fun to do. But so often they are unimportant!
Importance, on the other hand, has to do with results. If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals.
We react to urgent matters. Important matters that are not urgent require more initiative, more proactivity. We must act to seize opportunity, to make things happen. If we don't practice Habit 2 - Begin With The End In Mind, if we don't have a clear idea of what is important, of the results we desire in our lives, we are easily diverted into responding to the urgent.
Look for a moment at the four quadrants in the Time Management Matrix. Quadrant I is both urgent and important. It deals with significant results that require immediate attention. We usually call the activities in Quadrant I "crises" or "problems." We all have some Quadrant I activities in our lives. But Quadrant I consumes many people. They are crisis managers, problem-minded people, the deadline-driven producers.
As long as you focus on Quadrant I, it keeps getting bigger and bigger until it dominates you. It's like the pounding surf. A huge problem comes and knocks you down and you're wiped out. You struggle back up only to face another one that knocks you down and slams you to the ground.
Some people are literally beaten up by the problems all day every day. The only relief they have is in escaping to the not important, not urgent activities of Quadrant IV. So when you look at their total matrix, 90 percent of their time is in Quadrant I and most of the remaining 10 percent is in Quadrant IV with only negligible attention paid to Quadrants II and III. That's how people who manage their lives by crisis live.
There are other people who spend a great deal of time in "urgent, but not important" Quadrant III, thinking they're in Quadrant I. They spend most of their time reacting to things that are urgent, assuming they are also important. But the reality is that the urgency of these matters is often based on the priorities and expectations of others.
People who spend time almost exclusively in Quadrants III and IV basically lead irresponsible lives.
Effective people stay out of Quadrants III and IV because, urgent or not, they aren't important.
They also shrink Quadrant I down to size by spending more time in Quadrant II.
Quadrant II is the heart of effective personal management. It deals with things that are not urgent, but are important. It deals with things like building relationships, writing a personal mission statement, long-range planning, exercising, preventive maintenance, preparation -- all those things we know we need to do, but somehow seldom get around to doing, because they aren't urgent.
To paraphrase Peter Drucker, effective people are not problem-minded; they're opportunity-minded.
They feed opportunities and starve problems. They think preventively. They have genuine Quadrant I crises and emergencies that require their immediate attention, but the number is comparatively small. They focus on the important, but not the urgent, high-leverage capacity-building activities of Quadrant II.
Generally their concept of customer service only extends to ensuring they analyse the technical problem and use their expertise to solve the problem. They are often unaware that there is a second dimension to customer service and that involves how the customer feels about the transaction. As a result we put together and conducted a customer service workshop for the Technical Service People.
excerpt from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey
|Using Feedback to Improve Time Management|
Matrix Vision is a value added reseller and a user of the most powerful and versatile feedback software tool available today.
People need an efficient, confidential and anonymous vehicle for giving feedback to each other. State-of-the-art software can simplify the process of collecting multi-source (360) feedback for anyone in your organisation.
20/20 Insight GOLD is the world's most versatile feedback tool. With this system, we can set up surveys to collect virtually any type of feedback-ideas, opinions, impressions, ratings - from any number of people about the performance of an individual, a team or even your organisation as a whole.organisation.
Using Feedback to Improve Time Management
The best way to use feedback for improving our self/time management skills is to seek feedback from a variety of people of their perceptions of how we are currently managing our time. From that feedback we gain insight into the areas in which we are doing well and are able to see areas for improvement.
We then embark upon a development activity to reinforce our positive points and improve in the identified areas. After a pre-determined period we seek feedback again confirming where we are improving and giving us information on where we need to try something different. This before and after feedback is so powerful in achieving behavioural change.
Our time management feedback document could explore behavioural questions in such categories as:
- General perceptions about time management behaviour.
- How well do we prepare for important tasks or events?
- How well do we organise our activities to achieve results?
- How well do we respond to pressure or crisis?
- How well do we delegate?
- How well do we maintain focus on our goals or results?
- How well do we manage interruptions?
At matrix vision we can design and adminster a Time Management Survey tailored to meet your specific needs.
We can work with you to choose and/or ammend any of the survey questions to build a survey that can give you the kind of feedback that can help you identify your self-management issues. We can adminster the survey and prepare a report that can help you improve.. Please give us a call, we would be happy to come and talk with you about how we can help.
To learn more about the power of 20/20 Insight Gold click on the image.
To talk with us about how you can use feedback to help you improve your time management, please contact us
|Sydney Hills Business Chamber Breakfast|
is an active member of The Sydney Hills Business Chamber.
In April the theme for the Chamber events is "Customer Service" and matrix vision is pleased to be able to sponsor the Chamber Breakfast event on Wednesday April 8th.
Barry McMaster will speak on "Customer Service - Simple But Not Always Easy".
The Breakfast will be held at
The Estate Room, Hills Lodge Grand Mercure, Cnr Salisbury and Windsor Rds (enter Via Salisbury) Castle Hill from 7.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m.
Members: $30 Non Members: $60
Forget about business card draws!
All Chamber Members and their guests who attend the Breakfast will - receive absolutely free - an on-line DISC Profile valued at $179 (RRP)
Compliments of matrix vision
What is a DISC Profile all about?
Behavioural research tells us that the most effective people are those who understand themselves, both their strengths and weaknesses, so that they can develop strategies to meet the demands of their environment.
By simply completing an on-line questionnaire you will be provided with a 24 page report that gives you insight into your behavioural characteristics. This report provides you with a profile on the four DISC dimensions:
- Dominance is seen in the ways we deal with problems and challenges.
- Influencing is seen in the ways we try to influence and persuade people.
- Steadiness is seen in the ways we respond to change.
- Compliance is seen in the ways we respond to attempts to control our behaviour through rules and regulations.
DISC is used by many organisations in Australia as the basis for management development and team building.
In addition to the DISC Profile all attendees will receive a Workplace Motivators Profile taking the full benefit to the value of $350.
To get more information about the DISC profile and the Workplace Motivators Profile (including viewing sample profiles) CLICK HERE
If you are a Chamber member you cannot afford to miss this breakfast, so book on the chamber website by Friday 3rd April. BOOK NOW!
If you are not a Chamber member but would like to attend the breakfast and take advantage of this incredible offer we can arrange for readers of this newsletter to come to this breakfast at the member rate of $30.00, please give me a call or send me an email and I will let you know how.
Thanks you for taking the time to read our newsletter.
You received this newsletter because you have some association with matrix vision
. This may be because you are already a client or customer, you are a former colleague, or perhaps we have exchanged business cards, or maybe we are fellow members of the same association.
If you liked the newsletter please pass it on to other colleagues by using the Forward to a Friend link below . However if you found that the newsletter did not include anything of value for you please unsubscribe using the SafeUnsubscribe link also below.
Next month the theme of the newsletter will be "Teamwork".
All the Best,
Matrix Vision Pty Limited