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Sunday / August 14.
HomemilastwordThe Last Word: We All Have 1440

The Last Word: We All Have 1440

One-thousand, four hundred and forty minutes (1440)… That’s it! That’s all each of us has in one day to make our mark. It’s easy to let those minutes pass us by. To get to the end of the day and realise that the emails you need to attend to in the morning are still unread but now the list has grown.

That the number of news items that you clicked to ‘Read later’ are still unread and are now old news. And that the people who made those unreturned calls earlier in the day are trying to get to you again… only now they’re angry.

We’re all guilty of trying to do little bits of everything quickly but achieving nothing at all.

One of the oldest yet still most relevant management principles is ‘one thing at a time’.

We’re all guilty of trying to do little bits of everything quickly but achieving nothing at all…

I know this is not always possible, but it helps to stop the paper shuffling and is a principle I’ve been training myself to live by. I started by looking at the big picture and identifying my personal priorities for life – for instance, spending time with my family, taking time to myself and with friends, for photography and so on. Then I looked at how I can manage my work day within my priorities.

I found the best way to do this was to break down my 1440 into projects and then to break those projects into actions. By viewing a project as a collection of actions that lead to a specific result I’ve found I can pretty much achieve what I set out to do each day.

So my project for the first hour or so every day is ‘health and fitness’; after which I spend time with my family before disappearing off to the office. My project for the first half hour of every working day is to grab my coffee and catch up with the team. I then spend half an hour or so dealing with and actually completing correspondence. With urgent matters behind me, I can move on to my ‘real job’ as mivision’s editor and publisher, knowing I have the rest of the day clear to speak with clients and pull the journal together.

I have an open door policy so, of course, there are the usual interruptions like staff asking if I want Hong Ha for lunch, phone calls needing my attention, questions being shouted out across the office and my iPhone flashing at me (it’s always on silent so I rarely answer it because people know I’ll call them at lunch or when I walk home after work).

I decided years ago that at work no matter how busy I am, if an old family friend drops into the office, I’ll stop and have a cuppa and listen to their stories. These can be long winded and often I have to stop myself from tapping my fingers on the table in my head but these conversations matter. Their journey and stories made up our history and their learnings help us negotiate our future.

We need to take time for the things that matter and the things that don’t matter aren’t worth our time. It’s that simple.


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