Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Budgeting time for your most valuable activities, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Once you've identified your top two most valuable activities, it's time for us to open the calendar, and create a time budget. The time budget is different than your normal working calendar. You're not actually going to schedule anything into this time budget. Instead, you'll use it as a tool and a frame of reference. Many calendaring systems allow you to create multiple calendars, and compare them side by side. In Google Calendar, I'm going to click on the drop-down menu next to my calendars, and select Create new calendar.
I'm going to name this new calendar, "Time Budget", and jump to the bottom, and click Create Calendar. This is where I'll create a time budget for my top two most valuable activities. How much time should you spend in each of your most valuable activities? It's up to your judgement. Choose an amount of time that's reasonable for your career and your industry. However much time you're spending on your MVA's right now, try to budget a little more time, stretch yourself.
I recommend you strive to spend at least 40% of your total work time in just those two most valuable activities. For most people, this would be a significant improvement, as the average executive is spending less than 20% of their time in their most valuable activities. Let's say, for example, that I identified my two most valuable activities as writing, and developing business systems. So, I'm going to set aside time in my calendar to devote to just these two activities.
First, let's do writing. I find that Fridays are typically slow days. Most people are too busy to talk with me during those days, because they're winding up for the end of the week. I also find my thinking is more clear earlier in the day, so I'm going to schedule hours on Friday, beginning in the morning, to devote to writing. Let's say that my work time budget is 40 hours a week. So, if I took 40% of that, that's 16 hours.
I'm going to split my writing, and business systems time in half. So that's going to be eight hours to each of them. That means, I need to schedule eight hours for writing. And I'm going to set aside my entire Friday for writing. Next, I'll create a time budget for my second most valuable activity, which is, developing business systems. Again, I need to schedule eight hours per week to this budget. I don't want to devote an entire day to this, I'd rather spread it out a little bit, so I'm going to spend part of my day on Wednesday, and part of my day on Thursday working on business systems.
Now, I created my time budget, but how do I use it? I use it as a guide when answering the "When will I do it?" question, in the "what, when, where" processing system. I want to try to schedule tasks and projects related to these most valuable activities in those time slots I just budgeted. I also want to avoid scheduling anything else during those time slots, because they should be protected. One final note about using the time budgeter.
Some of my clients find it helpful to also budget time for one, or two of their least valuable activities, their LVA's. Why would we want to do that? Because we want to limit the amount of time that we're spending on those activities. By using the time budget for our least valuable activities, and creating a small window of time for them, it forces us to constrain the amount of time that we're going to devote to those activities. Use this new time budget as a guide post to ensure you spend sufficient time in your most valuable activities each week.
It can also help you avoid, allowing your schedule to get filled up with many less valuable activities.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains