The secret to effective time management – would you like to know it?
Most business people are busy. They are busy because they either like to be busy as it makes them feel important, or because they don’t know any other way. This model explains how to accomplish much more within the same time frame. Time is the most precious resource that you have, and it should be used wisely. Use Secret to Effective Time Management to increase your efficiency.
Chunking refers to breaking an activity into pieces (‘chunks’).
You chunk up or you chunk down depending on how known or unknown the task is to you and how comfortable you feel with that task. By chunking up things you know, you free up brain space. You also delegate as a ‘chunk’ and you have fewer responsibilities. By chunking down the unknown, you make it easy for yourself to deal with that one task. You break it down into manageable pieces, which you can deal with, rather than postponing something because you don’t know how to start and how to handle it.
Example to illustrate the chunking concept
When you learnt how to drive, your instructor told you to open the car door, to insert the key into the contact, to look in the rear-view mirror, to signal, press the clutch, then the accelerator and go. ‘Driving’ was broken down into small pieces that you could handle. Now that you know how to drive, driving is, well, driving.
So, when you learnt how to drive, you had driving being chunked down into small pieces. Imagine how you reacted should someone gave you the car key and said ‘Drive!’ before you had any idea of how to drive. It would have been overwhelming and you would have not done it. Your instructor, by chunking driving down, made it possible and eventually easy for you to drive.
How does chunking apply in the work place? Take recruitment.
1. When you recruited your first employee, you had to publish the ad (draft the job description before), receive CVs, read the CVs, select the ones you found appropriate, call candidates for an interview, meet them and understand whether or not they are the right fit, make notes, think about them, made a decision, make the offer to the chosen candidate, discuss again, and eventually have her sign your employment contract.
2. As you become more experienced about recruitment, you delegate parts of this process. Let’s assume you have a secretary that does the initial part, once you have drafted the job description, and you only meet the candidates. Then again, she is the one that drafts the offer and deals with the new recruit. So you moved the task from being totally chunked down, towards the middle of the scale, where it only means: job description, interview, final decision. So only 3 ‘chunks’ for you. The rest are being delegated to your assistant.
3. When you have someone else in the company that can handle the entire process (let’s call her Anca), your task becomes: ‘Anca, please recruit one more Business Doctor Consultant’. So just one task. That means you have chunked it all the way up.
Think about your brain power. How many tasks do you have in the first situation, vs second, vs the third. How much ‘brain power’ does recruitment occupy in each of the above scenarios?
By chunking up things you know, you free up brain space, as they become one activity, which eventually gets delegated.
Good planning involves allocating big things that take a long time into small chunks of time. In other words, break tasks that take a long time into smaller pieces that can be dealt with regularly. For example, I allocated one day per week to write the book Shortcut to Business Success, because I wanted to have it ready in four months.
Divide big projects into small, manageable chunks to be dealt with over time.
I challenge you to choose one activity to chunk up and delegate as a chunk. This could be negotiation of a new contract, purchase of a piece of equipment, production of a sales video, or anything you feel takes too much of your time.