Branson receives over 300+ emails per day. Here’s how he keeps on top of it all.
As you become more successful, you’re going to find that time management becomes an issue. There are many causes of poor time management, each of which can lead to you missing deadlines and wasting money.
Successful people understand the importance of managing their time. People like Richard Branson and bestselling author Pat Brans have achieved so much in life because they know how to stay productive. Here is their best advice:
Richard Branson – Distractions
In a recent interview, Richard Branson notes that many of the 300+ emails he receives each day demand effective time management. His most important piece of advice relates to distractions. Branson recommends checking emails and messages in short bursts. As he puts it: “Manage your Blackberry. Don’t let it manage you.”
After responding to the important stuff, he puts his phone away. This ensures that it’s no longer a distraction, which allows him to focus on the task at hand.
Branson says that every distraction you succumb to results in lost time. In particular, he speaks about the importance of using your mobile device as a tool, rather than allowing it to dictate your schedule.
Pat Brans – Feeling Overwhelmed
In his article on the Forbes website, the bestselling author of Master the Moment, Pat Brans, speaks about feeling overwhelmed. As the pressure builds, your mind turns more towards how many tasks you have, rather than how you can complete them. He notes that there are two things that cause people to feel completely overwhelmed.
The first is getting bogged down by the small tasks. If you try to do everything, you’ll miss important tasks. Eventually, your workload increases to the point where you can’t manage it. Brans says that prioritizing your task list is one of the most effective time management strategies. You’ll avoid that overwhelmed feeling, and get more work done.
Secondly, Brans recommends you don’t complete all your tasks right away.
“…Try jotting down all the things that can be done tomorrow.” He says. “Put that list in a safe place, and don’t think about anything on the list until tomorrow.”
What To Do About Procrastination
In the same Forbes article, Brans covered the issue of procrastination. Delaying your work until the last moment is one of the biggest causes of poor time management. You put yourself under more pressure, plus you prevent yourself from getting to work on other tasks early.
Brans notes that most people procrastinate because they feel they’re forced into their tasks.
“If somebody else has forced it on us, or if we decide to do something out of pride, guilt, or jealousy, we haven’t really chosen the project,” he says.
This lack of passion in your work leads to procrastination. More interestingly, Brans also notes that self-image plays a role. You’re more likely to delay a task if you feel as though it may change how people view you. Strangely, this occurs even if you think the end result will be positive.
Having passion for your work gives you the drive needed to succeed. Furthermore, don’t concern yourself with the aftermath. If you do a good job, you don’t need to worry about the opinions of others.
Not Having Enough Energy
Brans also notes that many people point to a lack of energy as a reason for not getting their work done.
“If you alter your eating habits, so that you eat a nutritious breakfast and a light lunch, you might find you have more energy throughout the day,” he says.“Regular exercise and good sleep patterns will also help you get through your important projects with more zest.”
The CEO of Nike, Mark Parker, also espouses the benefits of exercise. Parker exercises every morning before work. This brings his body and mind up to peak condition, leaving him ready to take on his day.
It’s all about healthy habits. If you don’t start your day well, you can’t expect to finish it well.
Not Saying “No”
Sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy. Brans points to an inability to say “no” as one of the major causes of poor time management.
Unfortunately, being able to say “no” is something that only comes with practice. You have to overcome the worry that you’re disappointing somebody if you don’t take on the work.
Brans notes that: “Since time is such a precious resource, the only way you can free yourself to do the things you want is to say ‘no’ frequently”.
Saying “yes” to everything will drain you. Your task list will grow, and you will start missing things. Eventually, you’ll end up disappointing people that you should have said “no” to in the first place.
Some of the most successful people in the world have fallen victim to these problems in the past. However, they have come up with solutions that help them to perform at a high level.
You need to do the same if you want to achieve success. Examine these causes of poor time management and think about how they apply to you. Then, follow the advice from the experts on how to counter these problems.