Overloaded with work? Feel you need help with time management? You’re not alone. The push is on today to do Overloaded with work? Feel that you need help with managing your time? You're not alone. The push is on these days to do more, more, more, more. So in frustration, you turn to time management. Guess what? You can’t manage time; you can only mange yourself and your use of time. It’s just that simple.

You can find lots of ideas about how to plan your work using day planners and to do lists but as important as these are, they don’t go far enough. Marilyn Johnson, founding editor of Office Professional puts it this way, “When you can’t stretch time, you have to shrink the work.?And I would add, “Cut some of your roles.?

Here it is: Manage yourself by cutting some of your roles, and manage your roles by being efficient with their tasks. You will need to do this for your workplace roles and for your roles outside of your workplace.

How do you cut some of your roles? First, what’s a role? Anything that you do is a role. List all of them and then decide which are optional and which are required. You can eliminate any optional role that you choose; you can’t eliminate any required roles.

Once having done that, become more efficient with the roles you’ve chosen and the roles that are required. How? Realize that every role is a set of tasks. Analyze the tasks of each role and decide which of these tasks are consuming a lot of your time? Break the task into sub tasks. Turn this into a system of steps and do the work systematically. And be honest about any weaknesses you may have in doing any of the sub tasks. Those weaknesses use up a lot of your allotted time. Improve your skills in this sub task or find someone else to assist you (trade, outsource, delegate) in doing it.

Here’s a workplace example: writing a letter, memo, or report. Many people hate doing this task because they have never learned a system for effectively doing it. Writing requires five steps:

1. planning, which includes doing any research necessary and creating an outline. 2. writing a first draft , which means writing by following the outline and without worrying about the finished product. 3. revising the draft, which means reading the draft out loud to the ideas in the content and then making any content changes necessary. 4. editing the revised draft, which means correcting the grammar, usage, and punctuation errors found, or getting someone to do this for you. 5. creating a clean final copy, which means putting your piece into an aesthetically pleasing format.

By breaking down the task into sub tasks, you can see where it is you need to invest much of your time. What usually happens is that most people who hate to write do a lot of stalling before getting to the task which they see as WRITING rather than seeing it as planning, drafting, revising, editing, finalizing.

Once you start with the first step of a series of sub tasks, you’ll be under way and you will save considerable time by not procrastinating. One final point, when you are doing a task, do it attentively. give it full attention and it will go much more smoothly. Daily, practice being attentive in all of your tasks; it’s a key step to being a peak performer.

Author's Bio: 

The ideas in this article are taken from Jim Evers?The Peak Performer’s Kit and The Hate To Write But Have To Writer’s Kit, available from http://www.trainanddevelop.com. Jim Evers, a consultant, trainer, and speaker, is also the author of The O.P.E.N. System for Effective Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Innovative Thinking. For additional free articles see http://eversassociates.com