Forget about time management. There’s something better.
Executives use a much better technique. A technique YOU need to learn to use, too. I have termed it “OUTCOME PRIORITIZATION”.
There is nothing more important in achieving success than to know how to prioritize and especially WHAT to prioritize. What you do has consequences to both the company and to your career. The greater the impact to the company’s results and success, the more important and more relevant the task, with the highest in importance ranked an “A”. Learn to screen every activity and task by asking, “what does the output and result of this task mean to the company?”
“Outcome Prioritization” thinking will force you to rank each and every time commitment in terms of your degree of influence and reach in a company. The company always being of utmost importance; next, the division, then, department, team and last, yourself.
“Outcome Prioritization” is a tough process. It requires foresight, experience, and risk taking.
Once items are cast into their respective categories, “A”, “B”, or “C”, keep them there until you are quite literally left with no other option but to recast them. Sometimes “B”s and “C”s can become disruptive and turn into “A”s. So, you may have to be a bit flexible. Other times, you may be part way into an “A” before you learn that it ought to have been cast as a “B” or a “C”. In that case, measure the time and resources you already invested in it to determine if it makes sense to recast it as a “B” or “C” and cease working on it for the time being or to rush it along to 75% of a perfectly completed task.
What about the “B”s that need doing?
For each “B”, try to avoid working on them, for the time being. Instead, “park” them after you assign an estimated “expiry date” to each. Time will tell if these ought to morph into “A”s or disintegrate into “C”s. One tactic you can explore is to identify to your management that you are so busy with your “A”s that it might be a good idea to re-assign to your colleagues some of your “B”s, especially to someone who doesn’t read this website! Or you might simply negotiate your own swap if your management is in synch with such an action.
As for the “C”s, as soon as you determine or classify them as “C”s, ignore them almost completely, other than checking from time to time to see if they are morphing into a “B” or even dissipating on their own without you ever needing to apply time or energy.
There is one more step within the process of allocating tasks based on “OUTCOME PRIORITIZATION”. Not all “A”s are created equally. Within your “A”s focus most of your energies upon those with the biggest impacts to your company’s success. You may find that just one or two or possibly three is your limit, though you may have 5 or 10 “A”s. You can make your biggest impact by working on the tasks in priority of their biggest outcomes.
This “OUTCOME PRIORITIZATION” method can be reduced to this mnemonic: “Think like an executive! You’ll become one.”