4 Effective Ways To Manage Your Time

We’ve all done it plenty of times in our lives. The complaints usually all sound the same – “If only there was more than 24 hours in a day”, “Where did all the time go?”, “Why does time fly when you’re trying to get something done” and the endless list continues. What is it about time that is so elusive? Why does it always seem like it moves slowly just when we want it to fly and flies when we want it to move slowly? It almost seems like it has a mind of its own! But we’re the ones with the minds.

Time Management Training programs are especially crucial for companies where every man-hour made or lost is directly proportional to money made or lost. The more efficiently a company manages it’s time through resources, systems or personnel, the more cost effectively the company operates by saving on time wasted. Hence it is one of our key programs for Managerial Training and Leadership Training.

Time Management, it turns out, is not really one of the unsolved mysteries of the Earth or rocket science that is beyond our comprehension. It takes some organizing and some discipline, the two key ‘ingredients’ to successfully manage your time. Lets look at how those aspects interplay with each other:

Goal Setting

This is the first step to begin with. To-Do lists are generally not very efficient because they only keep getting longer and after a while can get overwhelming. It is also important to set not only the ‘type’ of goals to achieve but the ‘number’ of goals that need to be done as well. Setting a goal of 5 things to do in an hour maybe more efficient than 20 things to do in the same hour. The more realistic the goals, the more achievable they are. ‘How does one manage time more effectively’  is a great article that gives you many simple, yet effective, techniques.

Prioritising

This goes hand in hand with goal setting. Some people attempt to just get ‘chunks’ of work done without prioritizing them according to importance. Consequently sometimes these are the very same people who just never seem to have time to do the things that actually matter. Prioritizing the goals that need to be achieved is the best way to maximize the efficiency of the limited time available.

Scheduling

Next it is important to actually put these priorities down on a schedule or calendar. Especially within a business context, there are often numerous tasks that may sometimes require our attention at the same time and having our priorities scheduled will help in allocating them into available slots through the workday.

Discipline

This is the rivet that holds every other piece of the time management structure together. If this isn’t managed, everything else mentioned above falls flat on its face. Once the system of goal setting, prioritizing and scheduling is setup, it takes a lot of hard work through diligence and discipline to keep the system running smoothly. This is often the area where most people falter. If discipline is maintained within our time management skills, we will discover rather quickly that time need not be our foe but can actually be our friend.

Here is a fun, albeit effective, way to manage one’s time.

 

Handling Critical Situations Productively – A Leadership Essential

Handling Critical Situations Productively – A Leadership EssentialHandling critical situations is a leader’s responsibility. Critical situations are what are usually referred to as ‘stressful situations’. So one of the key areas of the development of a leader is to learn how to handle stress productively or else their capabilities as a leader will be greatly tested.

“You cannot run at full throttle when applying your mindset to all of the different things running through your head. Focusing is the key to manifesting your desires.” – Stephen Richards

Stress usually in the result of lack of time or competence. But of these two I think that time is most important as we can enhance our competence if we have the time. So let us look at some ways in which we can create more time in our day thus increasing our ability to enhance our stress management.

As with any change in our habits, we need to first shift mindsets or beliefs. Below are three common mindsets that come in our way of being more effective with our time;

  1. “Productivity is directly proportional to the amount of effort we put in.”
  2. “I am the only one who can do it right.”
  3. “This problem is urgent and needs to be attended right away.”

“The essence of self-discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.” ― Barry Werner

Here are some effective ways to create more space in your day:

  1. Commit to leaving an hour early from work everyday and vehemently deny yourself the permission to carry work home on the weekends.
  2. Organize your paperwork in three piles:
    • Pile A: Contain items that are of indubitable importance and require your personal attention. Do not have more than 3 items in this category.
    • Pile B: Items that are important but do not need your immediate attention. From this pile sort out the ones that you can delegate. This could contribute to not only your time management but also to the learning of your subordinates.
    • Pile C: In this category are items that could contribute to your knowledge base or passion. Books, newspapers, magazines, TV programs etc. Ensure that you allocate time for this and diligently not allow spill over as this is the category that could make you stray.
  3. Ensure that you throw away everything that not important or urgent. Use the question asked by the legendary Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., ex. President and CEO of General Motors: “What is the worst that can happen if I throw this out?” to help you decide which ones you need to discard.
  4. Allocate half a day a week towards time to introspect. A new and fresh environment could give you the space to break out of the routines and tickle your innovation.

“You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you.” ― Tony Morgan

 Stress and TimeManagement Training is a part of our leadership development programs because of the immense impact it has on productivity. Contact us to know more about our leadership programs.

Courage – A Leadership Essential

‘I’ve had my ups and downs,’ he says. ‘My fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. That’s what made me what I am today. Now I stand here before you. What you see is a body crafted to perfection.  A pair of legs engineered to defy the laws of physics and a mindset to master the most epic of splits.’Jean-Claude Van Damme

Volvo released a commercial ‘The Epic Split’  on Nov 14th, 2013, in which Jean Claude does an amazing feat – does a split between two Volvo trucks. The commercial brings out the precision of the Volvo trucks with perfect clarity. But to me, as an Executive Coach, what was even more fascinating is the feat done by Jean Claude.

As I studied about his life, the two values that he embraced from age 11 were Consistency and Courage. At the age of 11, his father took Jean Claude for martial arts lessons because he was physically weak. At the age of 15, Van Damme started his competitive karate career in Belgium. From 1976-1980, Van Damme compiled a record of 44 victories and 4 defeats in matches.The application and dedication to the sport has contributed significantly to an enviable Hollywood film career for him.

Jean-Claude  has struggled with substance abuse and mental illness for a significant period in his life. He had reached a point when he had strong suicidal tendencies. 1997 was a turning point in his life when started to pull things back to normalcy in his life.

As I read about Jean Claude’s life, I was impressed with the way he kept his singular focus on martial arts through his difficult times. This focus gave him the ability to deal with the other circumstances.

As leaders, do you have a purpose, which gives you direction in your life? “A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.” Rudder is the smallest part of a ship without which a ship is directionless. It takes courage to have a purpose and even more courage to hold on to this purpose through challenging times by consistently altering our mindsets. May we have more leaders like Jean-Claude!

Leadership is About Effective Handling of Change

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. ~Pauline R. Kezer

Change is an inevitable part of life. But it is not easy to either change or to deal with change. There are two important factors for effective change: First, our perception of the situation and second, our attitude to embrace rather than resist the change. In short, change should first happen inside each one of us.

Let me narrate an interesting story…

It was Pete Gray’s dream to play baseball in the Yankee Stadium one day. At the age of twelve he was an excellent right-handed pony baseball player and represented his school in the game. And then one fateful day his dreams came crashing down…….

While doing chores on the family’s Pennsylvania farm, Pete slipped and fell off his father’s pickup truck. This completely crushed his right arm without which it was virtually impossible to play baseball. Anyone else would have given up their dreams but not young Pete!

The Adidas ad says, “Impossible is Nothing” – a slogan that Pete entirely embraced. He taught himself to bat, bowl and field with his left hand. His speed, strong throwing arm, and excellent athletic ability allowed Pete to perform this miracle quickly enough to be a solid, dependable outfielder.

Against all odds, by the 1944 season, the one-armed outfielder had a batting score of 333, stole 63 bases, and won the League’s Most Valuable Player award. Baseball fans were astounded!!!

One year later, in 1945, the one-armed outfielder, Pete, achieved his boyhood dream when his team, the Browns, played against the Yankees. The Browns defeated the Yankees, and Pete played a major role in his team’s victory.

As Robert E. Quinn rightly said, “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.”

Perhaps that is why Gandhiji said, “Be the change you want to see.”

The Leader Who Bought the Ferrari He Wanted

The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.
Warren G. Bennis

Am I a leader? Am I a good leader? Am I an excellent leader? This question should be asked many times everyday by a person who is in a position of influence as leaders are not born but they are made. It is a conscious choice and an intentional journey.

Everyday we are confronted with decisions like – “I am so tired and I would like to sleep for an extra 10 minutes.” But this would mean that you will be late for the meeting that you had scheduled with your team.

Your internal dialogue continues…… “The team knows that I was with the client till midnight so they will understand. However, this is not something I will or should tolerate from anyone else. So I better get up now and leave for work at the earliest.” This is an example of making an intentional decision; an example of being proactive rather than reactive.

This situation sounds simple but has long lasting implications. An excellent leader is predictable, reliable and consistent. These simple, everyday decisions made with the intention of performing the action that is for the highest good of all are what makes an excellent leader.

It is the constant soul searching and scrutiny of your actions that will put you on a path of continuous improvement. So, in my opinion, what makes an excellent leader different from a leader or a good leader is his/her ability to take three actions: One examining your actions, the second is increasing the difficulty of the yardstick you are comparing your actions to and the third is taking immediate corrective action.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
William A. Ward

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

I recently read an excerpt of Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address that was published by the Stanford Report dated June 14th, 2005. His closing lines revealed an amazing idea of inspiration in me.

Jobs credited the birth of this caption to a publication called The Whole Earth Catalog. This magazine was synonymous to today’s Google and other search engines – and according to the founder and CEO of Apple and Pixar Studios, it was “idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.” When this magazine rolled out its last publication in the mid 1970s, the back cover carried a picture of an early morning country road. Beneath it were the words: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

At the first glance, this catchy caption would not make much sense to the busy internet reader. But when I gave it a few seconds of thought, the idea dawned onto me. Firstly, it essentially means that we should always remain restless for knowledge. Secondly, and more importantly, it means never to be proud – we should always be under the impression that we do not know much. This feeling would in turn further fuel the thirst for knowledge, whereby we constantly persist in attaining it.

It is a well understood fact that knowledge is like an ocean. It needs to constantly wet the shores of your mind and bring wisdom. It is like oil to the lamp that burns bright on a dark night. With the knowledge we have, others should be able to light their candles.

Ever endeavour to acquire knowledge.
Never fall into the bottomless pit of know-it-all.
I encourage all of you to: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Values To Achievement Is Like Oil To The Lamp

“It was only with these values that my success has been realized.”

These were the words that Oscar winning music director (for the movie Slumdog Millionaire), A. R. Rahman said when he was conferred with Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) honorary doctorate on Sunday, for his contribution to the field of art and music.

Rahman urged Indian youth to work toward building a “strong, harmonious India”. This is possible only when individuals work towards their goal with integrity and discipline. Who better than Rahman to give this advice – he lived his early years in abject poverty and see what he has achieved in his life today. He attributes this to his values of living a disciplined life, persistence in everything and respect for mankind.

What is stopping us from achieving the same success as Rahman has?

All of us can achieve what Rahman has achieved and more in our lives and careers. The foundation of our lives should be values of hard work, commitment and fearlessness to reach new horizons everyday. With diligence, it is possible to run the race of life with the torch still burning bright.

Let us aim at becoming stalwarts in our area of passion by strengthening our soft skills and technical expertise – let us be an example for future generations to emulate.

MMM Training Solutions congratulates A. R. Rahman for his achievements and his contributions to humanity by being the drop of oil that helps the lamp of humanity remain burning bright.

Road to success for Leadership

The Road to Success

There are numerous values that are essential to achieving success. Over the next few months I will be addressing these values and asking some tough and controversial questions. These values are the focus in our soft skills training programs. The first value is Character. What is Character? This question is powerfully answered by two dynamic and influential people. “Character is the sum total of a person’s values, beliefs & personality. It is reflected in our behavior, in our actions. It needs to be preserved more than the richest jewel in the world.” – Shiv Khera I would like to ask a very provocative question (especially to my fellow Indians), “Does lack of punctuality reflect poor character?” In my opinion the answer to this question is a simple, “Yes.” The intense uptake of breath indicating surprise is audible to me. The reason for this response is that if you consider other people’s time to be as valuable as yours, you would never be late. So could this relate to your values and belief systems? I often say, “It is not the perception that you have of yourself that matters but the perception that other people have of you that is important.” I conduct leadership programs for people holding middle and upper management positions in multi-national companies. The above statement initially arouses disagreement but as it is processed in the group the participants start to see the wisdom. Let us now apply this to punctuality. If you are a project manager and you have been late the last three times for a meeting with your client who is paying a considerable amount of money for the project, what is the client going to think of you? Regardless of the fact that you have done a great job on the project, the client is going to question your dependability. Once this opinion is formed, it will be very difficult to change it. All your achievements will be measured against this yardstick. What a wasted opportunity! Character can only be achieved when we make the decision to be concerned about others more than we are about ourselves. This is not an easy life but it is worth the sacrifice. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” -Helen Adams Keller