What does this planning and process we need to apply look like? What know what it needs to achieve but how does it achieve it? On what foundation will our planning and process work? To achieve success with our time management we build the foundations on three guiding principles, which are paramount to the success of the Red Urchin system.
The key principles are:
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Without these three principles an effective time management system it is not! Lets explore them to see why they are the principles we need to follow to build an effective time management system that works consistently and effectively in the real world.
Over years we have explored many amazing and awesome time management systems on paper, but how they work in reality is very different. We know from years of experience, research and testing that if the system or function is not simple people will not use it. Time management is in a large part about input from users to make small decisions based on key process to allow success as we have previously defined it. If the system is too complicated or not accessible enough (see principle 3) then users in the midst of their day, running between activities will not make and action those small decisions to ensure that the process of their time management system is kept.The problem with ALL time management systems is that when you don’t follow the rules, the process, any process – you are back to chaos or best case a straight line To-Do list (See ToDo Lists vs Red Urchin).
Effective time management systems need to be simple to be effective, we know this, it has been proven many times and no matter how good that 14 step process is for mapping tasks on paper it won’t work if people cannot do it quickly and easily right then and there, while they are actioning it before the next demand comes into their view.
The next key principle is that any really effective time management system needs to take a holistic approach, in that it needs to accommodate the user taking a complete, all encompassing approach to their time management. If we backtrack to what success looks like, we know that while the details are different for different people the key goals of adopting a time management system are the same. Our goal here, as always, is to be a highly effective and balanced individual and our belief at Red Urchin HQ is that you must holistically plan and balance all facets of your life to be a highly effective person. There is no point always planning work only tasks, being awesome at that but neglecting your family and dying of heart disease because you didn’t exercise enough. Your system and processes need to include all of your life.
We know from extensive experience that any system must be accessible to the user. Just like having a too complex system in theory will not work effectively in reality, the same applies to accessibility of the system. As an example, assume that your time management system was only available on a book that did not leave your work desk. What would you do when you were in a meeting and were delegated a task, someone called and you agreed to complete a task by 3pm, were at home and decided to pick up the kids after going to the gym tomorrow. How do remember to complete these tasks? How do you get them into your management system? the simple answer is you cannot and you certainly cannot do it on a consistent basis. You need to have your system, with you or close by all of the time for it to be effective (See Writing things down! NOW!). Writing things down not only has the advantage of you not forgetting them but a huge mental advantage with your subconscious knowing you have dealt with them.
We know we need a process to effectively manage our time and priorities and we have laid some key principles on what that process needs to adhere to.