The Time Management Myth: How to fit it all in
Published on 06 February 2020
Elize Hattin, Smart Hub Business Manager sits down with The World Changers Coach, Matt Doyle, to talk chunking, colour-coding, task prioritisation and giving yourself permission to not get time management right all the time.
Shrugging off the title of time-management expert, Matt Doyle has spent half of his young life balancing business (two separate companies with a third start-up in the pipeline), university study, husband and fatherhood as well as being a well-balanced, healthy human who highly values family time.
Having started his first business at 15, Matt now empowers people to change the world by becoming better leaders and better in business, as The World Changers Coach.
"I've been involved in different businesses and leadership in the not-for-profit and charity sector, which is where my passion really lies today.
"I am now using what I know to help other people grow successful purpose driven businesses. Businesses that are out to change the world," Matt says.
GIVING YOURSELF PERMISSION TO NOT GET IT RIGHT
Matt is a firm believer that business is no excuse to prioritise family less; sacrificing business tasks to ensure being husband and father take precedence when necessary.
"Having a child with Type 1 diabetes creates challenges you can't plan for. My son has just begun school, so there's school involvement which creates an awful lot of demands on my time and my calendar. It demands an ability to manage it well.
"No matter how busy you are, when it comes to time management, give yourself permission to not get it right all the time. No matter how well you manage it, sometimes it will get away from you," Matt says.
For Matt, time management is the ability to run your calendar, and not have your calendar run you.
"If you are managing your time well, you are in charge of what is happening with your time.
"You're proactive, you're not reactive. You're not stressed because you're always responding to something, or trying to meet deadlines, or trying to get fit. You might not actually be in control of things, but you at least have the feeling that you are," he says.
Smart Hub Business Manager and author of The Naked Truth About You, Elize Hattin maintains time management is a myth; no one has the ability to actually manage time. Instead, she suggests time management is self-management; the ability to manage your own self in the use of time, which is fixed.
"It's the ability for you to make decisions about your schedule, what to do when, and how to do it. How to get it done. Where to be, how to show up.
"Calling it time management gives the impression that you can manage time, which I don't think is true," Elize asserts.
Regardless of definitions, all businesses recognise being able to make their time work so they make the most out of every minute, hour and day is essential for good business.
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE, GIVE IT TO A BUSY PERSON
Matt Doyle maintains 'busy people' have achieved a high level of self-management and are able to make their time work for them, whereas somebody who hasn't achieved this will only be doing a fraction of the work, yet feel like 'they're the busiest person in the world'.
So how can we learn to manage ourselves in the use of time?
For Matt, this is achieved with finding an effective self-management system. He has developed his, called focused flexibility.
"I've had to learn again, when you're trying to juggle university, business, fatherhood, the fact that you may have to drop everything at a moment's notice. An alarm could go off if there's an issue with my son's blood sugar levels…I could have to drop everything for that. It gives you a new perspective on how you manage your time," Matt explains.
The focussed flexibility system Matt uses centres on prioritising what matters on a to-do list and 'chunking' specific blocks of time across his calendar.
Matt says he chunks everything, from family time (he also blocks this out in his calendar; to avoid work encroaching on family time), church time and business time.
Having all this in his calendar in blocks means he can move these chunks around as things change.
"I'm incredibly structured, and that's where the focus part comes in. I focus on how I intend to use my time but need to be flexible enough that I can respond to something unplanned at a moment's notice, and not have the world fall apart if I do," Matt says.
KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES
Elize maintains not knowing what your priorities are can lead to distraction, feeling busy but not achieving much in the process.
Matt avoids this by setting and reviewing his priorities daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. He recommends a back-to-basics approach for anyone who has an idea of their priorities but lacks a structured way of documenting them.
"I would start with this fantastic new innovation that a lot of people have never used, called pad and a pencil. Or a pad and a pen. Write down everything. Everything you can think of, big or small, that you need to do. You'll be amazed at what you come up with when you actually sit down and quantify everything that you've been trying to juggle," suggests Matt.
His next step is to revisit this regularly to ensure he captures other priorities that may have emerged.
Matt follows an A, B, C, D, E prioritisation method which assigns all tasks as must do, should do, nice to do, delegate and eliminate.
"You'll be astounded at how many D's and E's are actually on your list, that you thought were pressing, but when you go through that list, you realise somebody else can do this or this doesn't matter at all.
"Now you can sit down and realistically block out the time for it. Work through anything that comes up as an A; this is what I'm going to do first, as it’s a 'must do', such as making sure my marketing is working, that I'm turning up on calls with my clients," Matt explains.
Matt then chunks these priorities into his calendar with a colour code so he can visualise what's coming up including work, family and university time, analyse and address any imbalances.
Elize suggests a great place to start is to look at all the different aspects of your life, including health, career, family, relationships, and set specific goals around what it is that you want to achieve over the next year in those different areas.
Matt agrees, saying this is more effective than resolutions, because now your goals are moving in that core direction.
"The last couple of years I've sat back and thought, "Well, where do I want to go?" I'm a husband, a father. I want to make sure that my wife and I are heading in the same direction so, there's conversations between us, about what matters, and what direction do we want to head in," he explains.
RUNNING INTO YOURSELF, 12 MONTHS' FROM NOW
If you were walking down the street in 12 months' time and ran into yourself, what actions would have had to have taken place over that timeframe for you to be proud of the person you meet? Matt suggests using this answer as the inspiration for finding your theme and defining your priorities.
"Write down what comes to mind until you find a theme, so you've got something to benchmark. For every prioritisation, ask yourself is this moving me in that direction?" Matt suggests.
Both Matt and Elize agree this 'brain dump' process is extremely powerful and easy; achievable within 10-15 minutes.
"You've got it all on paper, you've been through your prioritisation method, and again you're going to rank it A, B, C, D, E, into how much impact they're going to have, on that push towards you becoming that person you want to meet next year.
"Then it's about chunking and organising. Start with organising your list into things that work together; same projects, same areas, it might be the same parts of your life; body, being, balance, business," he says.
Matt suggests visualising what your ideal week looks like, allocating the best times for completing certain tasks and ensuring there are contingency gaps in your schedule, aka focussed flexibility.
"A really, really big goal is not so really, really big and scary when you see it broken down into little bits. Remember, even if you set a goal but don't actually schedule the necessary steps to take to make it happen, it won't happen," Matt cautions.
He is however quick to advise against beating yourself up over missteps, or not being able to cross actions off your list. Rather, Matt suggests analysing why it happened and having a strategy to prevent it from happening again.
THE WORLD CHANGERS COACH WAY
- Annual goals - what must happen in quarter one, two, three, four to achieve those goals?
- Quarterly goals - know what must happen in that quarter of the year to hit annual goals
- Monthly goals - what must happen every month to hit that quarterly goal?
- Weekly goals - What must happen every week?
- Daily goals – it becomes easier to see what must happen today to make sure you hit what has to happen this week, to make sure I hit what has to happen this month, this quarter, year…
Matt Doyle will be sharing his insights at this month's Lunch & Learn - How to Achieve Maximum Productivity & Happiness held at The Smart Hub, Tuesday 25 February from 12pm-1pm.
Matt will outline his master model to make the next decade your best yet, five key strategies to achieve peak performance and how to accomplish twice as much in half the time.
Lunch & Learn tickets cost $10 for non-members. Smart Hub membership costs $51 per month and includes these events for FREE. Click here to book tickets.
The SmartHub encourages entrepreneurs and business owners to adopt technology and modern based business practice to make the whole business journey more profitable, more enjoyable, more effective and more efficient.
Being part of the SmartHub gives local business owners opportunities to meet with and learn from mentors, to help them learn the discipline required to succeed in business. If you’d like to learn more about becoming part of the SmartHub, message SmartHub Rockhampton on Facebook or just head over to Customs House at 208 Quay Street, Rockhampton for a tour.