Busy? Overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list?

The old-school approach to that situation was to try to get better at time management. But we need to move on from that approach.

Firstly, let’s get real. You and I cannot manage (or control) time anymore that we can control gravity (unless of course you are Dr Who).

Secondly, you and I now live in a world of information and distraction overload that our parents and grandparents could not have imagined when they began their careers. In our noisy, over-stimulated, complex and ever-changing 21st century environments we need a new approach.

We need to forget about managing our time and focus on what we can manage.

So, what can we manage?

Set your compass to guide you through the maze. Get clear about the purpose of your work. That clarity doesn’t need to be some grandiose ‘Life Purpose’, but rather a realistic understanding of key results you need to produce in your role—the ‘why’ of your role.

Create filters to prioritise what you take notice of. Get clear about what is worth paying attention to. What information, activities, relationships will have the greatest impact on your ability to create the results you want? What things can or should you be ignoring?

Use your energy to get stuff done. Get clear about the actions you need to take to achieve results. Get specific about how and when to take those actions. Then, take action!

Decide who you need to work with and how you need to work with them. Get clear about what you need from others and what they need from you. No matter what your role is, you will never be able to achieve your purpose without others. Mastering the skills of good communication and relationship building is vital for success.

Our workloads are not likely to get lighter. However, the better we manage those four things the more our clarity and capability will increase and the times we are overwhelmed will decrease.

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