Time tools work when you use them
Ken, a mechanical maintenance engineering technologist for a paper mill in northern Ontario, Canada, told Session 7 of the Leadership Development Lab:
"When I received my red dot to remind me to apply 5X more enthusiasm to a project that I was falling behind on or a specific area where we want to improve our performance, like time on the floor with tours, computer skills or new program mastery, meeting with our crews, scorekeeping and reporting, improving our organization through better planning, I knew what I wanted to do. I needed to do an even better job of planning my work on a daily basis. Our department is experiencing traumatic reorganizational changes. This is making planning more important than ever before. We were a department of three maintenance engineers prior to the change, and now we are only two taking care of all the mechanical maintenance engineering requirements for the entire newsprint mill complex. What that means is that I have now had added to my workload 50% more to my day, and believe me, I stayed plenty busy before this change was made and my workload was expanded.
Back in January 2008 I had a feeling that something drastic may happen with the market conditions as they were, so I started reusing an organizational time management system I had been trained on several years ago, the Priority Management System. By planning my daily and weekly activities such as meetings and work priorities, the levels of organization of activities are laid out. I don't have to decide what's next; it is right there in front of me, my next priority activity, making for a less stressful work day, which in turn increases
my productivity. Now when the inevitable squeaky wheel emergencies occur or when things that may be 'pleasant' to do land on my desk, I remain focused on the priority items and let the pleasant, the squeaky, as Larry says in Chapter 7 of Making Moments Matter – 89 Tools For Taking Charge of Your Time, let the urgent things that are not important wait for another day, another time. When I can plan and organize them with like tasks and if they are truly not important, just urgent, or pleasingly pleasant, I just simply let them go and forget about them entirely.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that I need a plan to help me stop procrastinating and that by planning my daily activities, I can stop indecision and procrastinating. The action I call you to take is to make sure that you effectively plan your daily activities. Dedicate some time to do your planning on a daily basis. I recommend you do your planning either at the beginning or end of the day. Of course you need to be flexible because some other unknown activities seem to sprout up and priorities may need to be shifted around a little.
The benefit you will gain is your work will be less stressful and you will increase your daily productivity."