The two characteristics that separate great time managers from good ones are persistence and responsiveness. As the schedule evolves and priorities shift, I need to be both persistent and responsive in order to stay on track. The goal is to become a great time manager and not stick to being a good one. (motivating myself because good is just not enough ;) )
Just preparing and then sticking to the plan hasn't worked for me all the time. If I really want to be a great time manager, I need to be able to improvise the situation as well. Learning from mistakes, and making adjustments will certainly help me become a great time manager in the long run. I must continue to assess and reassess my progress even if I track my time and time box my tasks.
The Big Question now: Am I still on track?
First thing I need to do is self-checkups. Why self-checkups? To slow down to make sure my priorities are still in line with my big goals. Self-checkups will give me an idea of the following things:
- Things that are going on well as planned and things that are not.
- Warnings signs that I should be really worried about.
- And the things that I need to improve.
Looking at my schedule and work priorities I have come to conclusion that I need to assess myself twice a month. It may vary with you because it depends whether you are jumping between multiple projects and tasks or focused on one single deadline.
One thing I will always remember from now on is that, even if I don't identify warning signs and things to improve, I must always do a frequent check-up. It is for peace of mind, and a peaceful mind works very well. The following are the questions I need to ask myself when checking up:
- Do I feel prepared and focused each day?
- Do I feel like I have enough time to get everything done?
- Am I completing my schedules tasks?
- Am I making reasonable progress each week?
- Do I frequently work at a comfortable pace?
- Are my time estimates more accurate than before?
- Am I meeting deadlines?
- Am I achieving my goals?
- Am I procrastinating?
Note: I extracted the above check-up questions from the book Managing Time by Harvard Business Review
Four questions from the above list seem very important to me. My course of action will definitely be determined by the answers I have for each question. Either it will be YES or NO to each one of them. But none of the answers seems to be a complete YES. Deep inside I don't have a complete answer to any. Neither they seem to be complete YES nor complete NO.
But I need to really reassess myself. And so some of them I answer "yes" and it seems I am on track. So I need to keep up doing the great work and make minor adjustments whenever possible. I will write down whatever I learned since my last check-up even if things seem to go well. It will forever be a continual learning process for me. Things that I learn between the check-ups will help me make better decision in the future.
Some of the questions I answer "no" and it's time to improvise and make modifications. I am not on track to my comprehensive goals and I definitely need to do some self-reflection. This type of check-up question takes more work to figure out the modifications and solutions needed. From today's assessment I have come to realization that I need to tweak some of my time allotments and re-rank my priorities.
In every assessment and routine check-ups the only thing I need to remember is to keep learning something new from it. And then get better every time.
And assess and reassess myself forever.
You can download the header background photo from here. The download links for hourglass bottle & notebook are https://unsplash.com/photos/LPRrEJU2GbQ and https://unsplash.com/photos/3xNn1zGvBwY respectively. Thank you Kevin Ku, Hello I'm Nik 🎞 and Nathan Dumlao