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Monica Wofford, CSP, teaches leaders to understand and improve their own leadership confidence in using practice, skills, and desire as their three areas of focus.

Clocks and watches are for managing time. Your job is to manage your tasks.

The concept of a Time Management course has always seemed redundant to me. Aren’t watches and clocks used for time management? And isn’t it really much more about what you do with that time that makes the difference? If so, then how do you manage the tasks that go in your time to make sure you are doing with your time those items that are most valuable to you? Wow, that was a mouthful, but here are three specific tips and techniques.

1. Separate the Urgent from the Important

Not everything is a fire drill or top priority and if you can quit expecting yourself to get it ALL done and relax a little, you might find that you gain more energy, more clarity and more focus. Identify, using the old Franklin Covey concept of urgent vs. Important, those times that are “on fire” and need you now and those items that are important that need you more when the flames are doused.

2. Make a priority list as if it were a tournament

I learned from Kevin McCarthy, the author of the On Purpose Person to run what are called tournaments. You literally write down all of your “to-do’s” in a sweet sixteen sort of format and then pick the winners from each set of two, continuing to run tournaments until you come up with one final winner. It doesn’t mean the other stuff doesn’t get done, it merely helps you figure out which one is most important to do right now.

3. Build in “crazy tornado” time!

One of the fastest ways to erode your Contagious Confidence(TM) about your own abilities is to find yourself in total overwhelm all the time and feel overloaded as if there is a tornado in your head. Instead of expecting daily that some day you’ll feel like you’ve gotten in all done, build in time for fire drills, crunch time items and unexpected needs of others. Then you’ll spend many more days being tickled about the extra time you now have when a fire drill doesn’t take as much time as you’ve allotted. (Notice I didn’t say there would ever be a day without fire drills! I do live in the real world most of the time! 🙂 )

Life isn’t about managing your time, that’s already been done for us. Life is about managing what you put in your time and frankly how you feel about it. If you spend your life trying to manage something that is already managed, you are using a lot of energy for little or no results. Focus on that which you can not only manage, but lead and be a contagious leader about it. When you manage your tasks well, chances are those that follow you will… well… follow.

Stay Contagious!

P.S. Want to spend time working on HOW to balance your time and your tasks… join us on March 23, 2011 for the Balance: When You’re In Charge, In Heels, and Out of Time Conference in Kissimmee, FL! Go to www.contagiousconferences.com to register and learn more! We’ll see you there!

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