Assessing the Time and Value of Your Tasks
Successful businesspeople recognize that time has value. And they recognize too that it needs to be managed like any valuable asset. That’s why it’s important to use your time as productively as possible. To ensure you’re using your time productively, you need to assess the time and value of your tasks. There are some steps you can follow to assess the time and value of your tasks.
The first step is to identify your goals. You improve productivity by taking control of whatever’s obstructing your efforts to achieve your goals. The Pareto principle — also known as the 80/20 rule, which basically says that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes — is a good start.
This suggests that 80% of the results achieved come from 20% of the tasks performed. So doesn’t it make sense to identify the most valuable tasks and give them more time?
The second step is to log the time spent on tasks, so you have an accurate picture of how you spend your time. A task log records the precise amount of time you spend on various tasks each day, with columns for the task, time started, and minutes used. Additional columns categorize the tasks.
As soon as you do something, log it. And always include personal tasks like calling home, distractions like browsing online, and small tasks like traveling to an internal meeting.
The third step is to find the patterns in your time use. Do this by gathering and analyzing your task logs for one week. With this data, you’ll be able to identify how you spend your time — and when you’re most productive.
Since you’ve categorized your tasks in the logs, it’ll be easy to pinpoint imbalances in the types of tasks taking up your time. For example, are you spending too much time doing paperwork, helping out colleagues, or socializing at work? Maybe there are times of day when you’re regularly interrupted. Your logs can tell you. Highlighting “time wasters” show where there’s scope to improve productivity.
The fourth step is to identify the tasks that produce the most value. Highest value tasks are those that are both aligned to your goals and have a high potential to impact the success of your work.
Ask yourself, “How does this task contribute toward achieving my goals?” Tasks that move you in the right strategic direction are more important than those that don’t.
Also consider tasks in terms of consequences — the potential impact of the task. So ask yourself, “What are the possible consequences of not doing this task?”
Your time is too valuable to waste. And you need to use it as productively as possible. Maximizing productivity begins with assessing the time and value of your tasks. And by following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way.
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