Considered the pioneer of Time and Motion Studies, Frederick W. Taylor dedicated much effort to reducing time wastage, while maximising efficiency. Originating in the 1880’s, Taylor’s insights and findings were based around improving work methods and recommended the implementation of rest-recovery periods as well as the use of chairs and workbenches within industrial and commercial settings.
Fast forward 140 years and Taylor’s obsession with efficiency can be viewed in all areas of our business and personal lives. If you can’t wait to see the next episode of your favourite drama, download the series in advance and view it when you have time available to indulge. If you don’t own a rice cooker, the supermarket has a great basmati rice which can be prepared in the microwave in 90 seconds!
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence have made similar gains within industry – creating greater efficiency and saving hours of man-hours in the process. (A recent 2-minute diversion to a pet food website allowed me to order and arrange delivery of a 20kg bag of kangaroo-flavoured dog food for my Kelpie, Gary! This saved me approximately 25 minutes of time – plus saved my foofer-valve by not having to lug it back to my car!)
“You may delay, but time will not. Lost time is never found again!” (Benjamin Franklin)
The 4 D’s of Task Management – Do, Delegate, Diarise or Delete – can help us navigate the tasks of our personal or business in-tray’s. If adopted, you can regain control of your day/week/life, simply by identifying how each task should be classified.
Do – This should be applied to the smaller ‘micro-tasks’, before the list becomes overwhelming. This is also essential for those items in the urgent category (before they hit crisis level)
Delegate – Assigning tasks to a team member (or family member) can allow you to tackle more pressing issues/tasks. (Note: 1) Delegating requires trust. 2) Don’t only delegate tasks you dislike.)
Diarise – (Also known as defer) If tasks are not too time-dependent, consider scheduling them for when you have greater availability. Your diary can then act as a reminder.
Delete – Undoubtedly you will have some tasks which you have ‘bumped’ from your schedule on numerous occasions. If it doesn’t add value to the business, you or your team/people, maybe it’s time to remove it from your to-do list.
In addition to improved productivity, task and time-management tools can give you greater clarity and focus – for the things that really matter.