Brian Tracy has a post on Practicing Solid Time Management in this month's AMA Leaders Edge newsletter. While these are nothing new, they parallel yesterday's post of Lisa Scheinkopf's questions. His focus is on the 80/20 Rule of work: 20% of what you do should account for about 80% of the value. Focus on those things first.
Here are his questions. Check the article for his more-detailed comments.
- What are my highest value-added tasks?
- Why am I on the payroll?
- What can I and only I do that, if done well, can make a real difference?
- What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?
If you are interested in project management, Tracy's comments highlight some important aspects of "time management" within the context of the project. If one person struggles to get their Most Important Work done on time, just imagine how that affects the entire organization. One person delays, who delays another, who delays three others... which turns a three month project into four or five, all because no one knows or can acknowledge what is the important stuff to do. And even when they know what is most important to them, it is frequently difficult to assess how the individual's work impacts those around them. Snowballs on top of snowballs.
The solution? Answer these questions before you start the project. Build the project network that really shows who has to do what and the dependencies between those activities. And, and, and... Use Critical Chain Project Management. Stever Robbins had a personal take on this in his recent podcast, How to Define a Project.