It’s About TIME! by Jim Ball and Jennifer Kuchta

Summary

  1. An excellent, simple and easy to read book on how to better manage your time and be much more productive
Key Takeaways
  1. Step 1: Make Choices and Set Goals
    1. This is the most important step by far – set specific time management goals that you intend to take action to achieve
      1. Stop and think about what you really want
      2. Set priorities and make decisions
      3. Turn your decisions into specific time management goals
    2. Set aside an hour to prepare a list of Time Wants – list of things you want to spend more time on than you currently do and commit to spending more time on your top three. Quantify how much time you want to spend on each activity and turn them into specific goals
  2. Step 2: Know Where Your Time Goes
    1. Many people think they know where they are spending their time, but how we actually spend our time tends to be very different
    2. Maintain a daily time log for two to three days at a time to get clarity and control over where you spend your time
      1. Summarize results –
        1. Highlight in red things you want to avoid, delegate, or perform more effectively
        2. Highlight in green the items where you were effectively spending time on activities that were important to you
        3. Circle chunks – one hour or greater of uninterrupted time on important activities and priorities
  3. Step 3: Plan Your Weeks
    1. Prepare a weekly plan each week for the upcoming week. 
    2. Do it on a Friday in order to get a jump start on Monday, better coordinate your team, get your subconscious working on the problems early and get feedback by looking back at how effective you were during the current week
    3. Format
      1. Goals – enter top one to three goals for the week
      2. Days and Activities – enter appointments and major actions steps to achieve your goals
      3. Review and Results – Summarize your assessment of the week and determine what you need to change in order to manage your time better
  4. Step 4: Make Each Day Count
    1. The most important progress to make is daily progress
    2. Start each day with a list of Thunderbolts – your 5 most important goals that you intend to accomplish on a given day
      1. Definite, specific goals that you want to achieve in one day
      2. Prepare your Thunderbolts at the end of the day for the upcoming day
      3. Journalize – Prioritize – Visualize – Initialize – Finalize
      4. Thunderbolts also very helpful tools when looking to build new skills, habits
    3. Spending your time in “chunks” (one hour of uninterrupted time) is one of the most important things you can do and aim for at least 1-2 per day
      1. Focus on goals and priorities, growth and development, building relationships at work, family and friends
    4. Time bandits
      1. Be weary about when people ask for “five minutes”
      2. Avoid too much TV, internet, news, information, general media overload
      3. Say no to organizations and events that are not important to you
  5. Step 5: Work Smarter
    1. Highly effective people have routines, rituals and processes that guide everything they do
    2. To become more systematic, analyze your work, identify the repeatable tasks you perform and improve the tools and techniques you use to perform them
    3. Two of the greatest obstacles to success in managing our time well are quantity and complexity
    4. Eliminate clutter
      1. Goal clutter – organize and prioritize your goals, select only 1-3 main goals and focus on them until they are achieved or well underway
      2. Physical clutter – excess things is a brain, physical, money, time drain
      3. Activity clutter – take a hard look at your calendar and decide which activities are not important to you and take steps to eliminate as many as possible from your schedule
      4. Information clutter – eliminate unwanted newspaper, magazine, email, etc. subscriptions
    5. Making meetings effective
      1. Before the meeting provide a timetable and an agenda with the purpose of the meeting
      2. During the meeting – start on time, stick to agenda, do not spend time sharing basic facts that could have been sent out in advance
      3. At the end of the meeting – summarize action items, persons responsible, due dates, end on time and do not continue a meeting longer than necessary
    6. Three Magic Pieces of Paper – daily time log, weekly plan, thunderbolt cards
What I got out of it
  1. A fantastic book due to its simplicity and how actionable it is. I have already implemented the weekly plan, chunking and Thunderbolts into my daily routines

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