WTF? - [website] Email Print
Published: 2nd of Feb 2017 by: Debbie Engelbrecht CEO

Okay so I know how you read that headline! But I meant Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

You see, every weekend, I get a clear idea of my priorities for the week and how I am going to get through the myriad of projects I wish to attack. I have no lack of them, my busy head keeps on churning them out.

Mondays for us are relatively quiet days so all is normally well, especially in the morning and I can get started on something really great and interesting, (also why I love Mondays) but then life starts to happen. The proactive sometimes turns to reactive and I end up spending time working on the immediate and urgent requests, before I know it, WTF has arrived and the project started early Monday still has a long way to go.

Now I am pretty good at time management and prioritising as it is part of my portfolio of teachings, and I honestly do like to do and teach...yes, I am referring to the not so flattering adage that “those who cannot do, teach”, yet WTF seem to roll past in a blur sometimes.

Recognising this, I now have a new rule that I am experimenting with. The magic number seven. At no point do I exceed this number. I never have more than seven concurrent projects, no more than seven calls to return and no more than seven emails to respond to. If the number is reached, it is time to “block off time” and finalise. This is ensuring that I keep the focus on the projects at hand and reschedule the onset of new ones until such time as I am capable of handling them i.e. the previous seven are all complete. Or I take on only two additional if five are still hanging around.

I’ve been doing it for about three weeks now and it seems to be working. My self-imposed deadlines are becoming a bit more realistic and the strategy really helps for me not to get lost in the whirlwind as described by Stephen Covey in the 4 Disciplines of Execution. I am definitely feeling less stressed and as a result so do those around me.. in other words I hear less of the words you first read the headline as!

I’d be interested to hear what strategies others are using to improve their time and stress management.

© Debbie Engelbrecht

Debbie is the CEO of Staff Training, a soft skills training company offering more than 60 short courses including Etiquette, Diversity and Conflict Management. Find out more here.

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