The more time-saving devices we have, the more time-poor we seem to be. GLENRAC and GYWMAC offered some support with honing practices to help people be more productive, sponsoring a time management and productivity workshop in Glen Innes on Friday, November 8 to build community resilience.
Workshop facilitator Rebecca Fing of House Paddock Training and Consulting proved to be not only entertaining but realistic about the challenges on our time. As a business woman with children and a farming husband she also had much in common with the majority of those attending.
Her mission, for herself and for others, is to get the best out of the year, month, week, day and hour. She said time can be found by two mechanisms: by making time (through efficiency gains) and buying time (through delegation).
Planning and goal setting plays a big part in staying on track, and these stem from knowing your values.
"Values direct time management. We all have 168 hours per week and we should do our damnedest to manage them."
She said sometimes this means saying no to requests for our time that don't align with our values or goals, and that priorities change depending on the stage of life. As a parent of young children, for example, joining a committee that meets in the evening may not be a priority.
Rebecca said to be sure to leave the person making the request on your time in no doubt as to your answer.
"Say 'thank you so much, but it's no', rather than 'not at the moment' or 'maybe some other time'."
She said extraordinary conditions like the drought can also challenge long-held values, such as staying loyal to the same agent, contractor, etc.
"Societal pressure, financial strain and fatigue will also challenge values."
She said dealing with competing priorities is like juggling glass and rubber balls.
"If you're struggling in the juggle then prioritise your glass balls, and that could be your health or relationships."
She advised participants to keep their commitments realistic. A daily to do list is essential, but schedule perhaps only 40 per cent of your time to allow for crises and maybe even opportunities.
Work out in what part of the day you're most productive and set boundaries to block out that period each day for 'deep' work, and communicate those boundaries effectively.
"Every phone call and email is a request for our time," Rebecca said.
She said if someone else can do a task two-thirds as well as you then delegate it; up, down or sideways.
"Delegation is our only opportunity to buy time."
She advised to be wary of perfectionism, doubting that anyone will notice the extra 20 per cent effort put into any job.
The group also discussed electronic resources like cloud-based file storage and apps for to do lists, travel arrangements, project management and time tracking.
Rebecca said small intervals of time converted from wasted into productive can really add up by the end of the day, and accumulate from there.
The House Paddock is running an online Personal Effectiveness Boot Camp over five weeks from January. The time commitment is less than two hours a week and NSW primary producers may be eligible for the 50 per cent `Rural Assistance Authority rebate.