If you want to keep your commitments it is important to plan ahead, and I learned that lesson very early in life. We lived in the English countryside and had one car that my Dad used for work, so if I wanted to go anywhere the choice was to walk, bike or take the bus. It was a 20-minute walk to the bus stop and if I was late the next bus did not come for at least two hours. I soon figured out that if I was going to be on time and keep my commitments I had to plan ahead.
Time-management is really self-management. How we manage ourselves within the 24 hours that we each have in a day makes all the difference. “I don’t have time” is an excuse we have all heard or used.
What We Really Mean:
- It wasn’t planned out
- It wasn’t a priority for me
- I forgot
- procrastination occurred… particularly if it was a task I didn’t like
- The commitment was more than I could handle
- The task was purposely set aside because I didn’t want to help someone
- Time was spent on something that someone else said was urgent, without considering my prior commitments
- I failed to focus and became distracted
Keeping commitments is important because every commitment kept adds to credibility and builds trust. Trust is the foundation of every relationship and every broken commitment erodes trust.
The key, that I learned as a teenager, to ensure you keep your commitments is planning. The first step in improving your self-management and becoming more effective in achieving results is to answer these questions thoughtfully and honestly.
Consider These When Planning:
- What are my current personal and business commitments?
- What are the personal and business goals I want to achieve?
- Are my business goals aligned with those of the organization?
- Will my current commitments achieve my desired results?
- What do I value? Are those values aligned to my goals and commitments?
- What time can I dedicate to each commitment?
- How long will each commitment take? If there is any question about the time required, use this simple calculation to allow for unforeseen interruptions: multiply what you think it will take by 1.5.
- What are my priorities and have I ranked all tasks in order of those priorities?
- Am I prepared to change my current behaviours?
Divest yourself of those commitments that are “nice to do” but don’t move you or the organization forward. Learn to say “No” to activities that will not produce the results you need to achieve your goals. Prioritize your activities and plan your days. Focus on the important and keep your commitments.