Time Management Techniques - Overcome Barriers to Communication as People Panic 9 Tips to Protect

Published: 11th February 2008
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Time management skills depend on your ability to follow through on your planning with concrete actions. But all too often, strong personalities may place sudden demands upon you. What do you do when your colleagues confront you with 'surprise' deadlines or crises? And how do you set limits without alienating those making requests? Following these nine tips will actually strengthen your job standing and your professional relationships. And these techniques are equally effective with friends and family.

Crisis Tip One: Refuse to be swept along by others' urgency. Urgency is a key weapon of strong personalities. Don't make their crisis your crisis. When you allow yourself time to consider your response carefully, you demonstrate that you alone are in charge of your time.

Crisis Tip Two: Observe and Evaluate for yourself. Carefully identify your degree of responsibility for the problem, and how much the outcome will affect you. With this overview, you can decide how much time to devote - if any - to solving their problem!

Crisis Tip Three: Lower the drama of the moment. You defuse time urgency by summarizing the situation calmly, in accurate but less highly charged terms.

Crisis Tip Four: Also, affirm that you understand them. When others feel heard, they instinctively relax and take more time to listen to your ideas.

Crisis Tip Five: Broaden the perspective. Strategizing from multiple vantage points reduces the tunnel vision that urgency promotes. Identify areas of consensus. You can empathize while retaining a balanced view.

Crisis Tip Six: Offer the choices that align with your time frame. Succeed through identifying everyone's baseline needs and negotiating accordingly. Clearly state your parameters, so that your own projects remain on schedule.

Crisis Tip Seven: Allow others their responses. This may be the hardest part for you. As you learn to remain calm in the face of other's dissatisfaction, you will not be tempted to become defensive. This demonstrates you respect their right to their feelings and that your time priorities don't require their approval.

Crisis Tip Eight: Remain focused on your areas of control. Take the time to clarify your end of relationships. Specify what you feel comfortable doing, and the amount of time you are willing to spend doing it. The more clearly you communicate, the more you encourage others to share ideas and genuinely participate.

Crisis Tip Nine: As you change your part, prepare yourself for other aspects of interactions to shift. Your relationships are often unspoken contracts. For example, as you become less available at the last-minute, others may be called upon to help. Or you may be asked to coordinate schedules and priorities more closely with colleagues. This might shake up your image of yourself as indispensable, or your image of others as 'impossible'.

As roles realign, new possibilities emerge. As you become more skilled with negotiating, you will find that things run more smoothly and you regain power over your productivity. What is your next step to find more time?


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Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder, has guided individuals and organizations to effectively align values with their time choices for 35+ years. For free weekly time tips & an award-winning monthly Ezine, visit http://www.findingtime.net/ezine.html


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