If something is urgent it doesn't mean it's also important, in fact probably the reverse. Chris illustrates this with a story about a phone call from his wife that comes in at an inconvenient time. Four tests for importance, including whether it'll matter in five years time, and whether you would miss it if it was gone.
- Some people always do the urgent stuff first,…that's their system, get the urgent stuff out…of the way and then you can get down…to the important stuff.…But I think that this is a recipe for long-term…trouble because you'll never finish the urgent stuff.…It's constantly replenishing by email or whatever.…And even if you did finish it, you may not have…much time left for the important things.…Maybe it would be better to stop doing the urgent…things, make them wait for an hour or two,…which will probably be fine,…and do a chunk of important stuff.…
Get more important stuff into your day.…That's the objective of time management,…and doing the urgent things first is not going…to help with that.…Obviously, doing all of the important things…first is also a bad idea.…It would be great if you could get away…with it but unfortunately, the rest of the world…will catch up with you.…The essence is to do a mixture.…Keep the urgent people happy while fitting in…as much important stuff as you can.…Some people think if it's urgent it must be…
The first—saying no—is simple in theory, but hard in practice. Chris explains how to reclaim the power of "no" to make room for true priority items. The second step, negotiation, allows you to spend less time on unimportant tasks. The third way is to delegate sometimes, and the fourth is improving systems and processes so that repetitive tasks are quickly and easily managed. Last but not least, Chris explains how to overcome perfectionism and nitpicking. He explains how to apply the five methods to all time-stealers, including meetings, interruptions, and more.
In the initial chapters, he'll help you clarify your life and work goals, prioritize to-dos using Eisenhower's matrix of tasks, and answers questions like "Does working longer hours actually get more done?" The worksheets included with the exercise files will help you apply the lessons to your own work and life, and hone your time management skills—one step at a time.
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- Making the most of every day
- Separating important from urgent items
- Using Eisenhower's matrix of tasks
- Finding more time for important things
- Saying no
- Negotiating tasks
- Delegating to save time
- Improving your systems
- Letting go of perfectionism