Not only has our work environment changed during the past few years, our work habits have changed as well. Just because technology now allows us to work any place at any time, doesn’t mean we necessarily have to do so. If you choose to be available 24/7, you will lead a hectic life with little chance of keeping up with your full-time job.
We tell people how to treat us by how we manage our time. If we send business emails on Sunday, we will receive emails on Sunday in turn. If we answer our business phone after 5 PM, we will receive phone calls after 5 PM and so on.
We can get more accomplished, not by working longer hours, but by being selective and focused during the hours we’ve decided or contracted to work. Whether you work for someone else or are self-employed, it is essential to balance your “work” time with your “personal” time, and then keep the two separate.
Make sure your expectations line up with the expectations of the company. Does the company measure your performance by the number of hours you put in or by the results you achieve? Successful companies measure performance by the latter, and that’s the kind of company you should work for if at all possible. Management by results involves having targets of performance. These targets could be such things as volume of sales, number of subscribers, quality measurements, employee turnover or whatever, depending on your position in the company and the nature of the business.
Seldom would you have targets based on the number of hours worked in a week, the amount of overtime you are able to put in, the quantity of emails handled in the evenings and so on.
Many people work for companies that value and measure results; but feel they have to work longer hours in order to achieve those results. That’s not the fault of the company as long as the expectations are reasonable. It’s the fault of the workers by not managing their time well. It’s a simple case of not keeping on top of the job during the hours allocated to the job.
There are many strategies that you can use to manage your time effectively, including getting organized, delegation, focus, the use of technology and so on. But the most important one, the one discussed in this book, is being proactive. By being proactive, you cannot only avoid working overtime and playing the “catch up” game all the time, you can actually keep ahead of your job as well.
This brief book will show you how.
Introduction / 4
Chapter 1: How proactive are you? / 6
Determine your proactivity quotient.
Proactivity self-evaluation instrument
Chapter 2: What it means to be proactive. / 9
Keep one foot in the future.
Don’t get behind in your work.
Chapter 3: Plan and prioritize. / 12
It’s never too early to think ahead.
Planning saves time
Don’t take on too much.
Planning your week 90 minutes at a time.
Don’t tie yourself to a chair.
Why work in 90-minute segments?
Chapter 4: Maintain an inventory of completed tasks. / 18
Make a list of repetitive tasks.
Planning leads to doing.
Storing your inventory of tasks.
Build the routine of working ahead for future events.
Visualize the future events and activities.
How to get the time to get ahead.
Chapter 5: How to maintain your proactive habit. / 24
There’s more that can be done
Set specific goals for the future.
Set fewer goals.
Know when to say no.
Visualize the task or activity in advance.
Develop routines and habits.
Set deadlines on all important tasks.
Start at the finish.
Slow down and pay attention.
Maintain the right attitude.
Time to take action.