You Can’t Do it All

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In today’s nonstop world of human resource management, you are bombarded with information, e-mail, text messages, voicemail and social media.

Many approaches to time management claim to show how you can accomplish all of the things you need to. But business strategist Peter Bregman says the idea that you can do it all is just a myth. Face reality, he says – there is just no way you can actually do all of the things you want to. We have our limitations, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

This might be disheartening, he says, but it can be uplifting as well, because once you acknowledge that you can’t do it all, you are better prepared to make the choices about what you can do. You can dump the unimportant things and focus on what’s most important.

But Bregman says there are two obstacles to doing this – figuring out what the important things are, and then actually taking action to get them done. Figuring out what’s important means going from reactive to proactive. Instead of just waiting to see what lands on your desk, think about what choices you need to make to get the results that you want the most. And that means that you will also need to make choices about what not to do.

To get to the actual doing part of things, Bregman says, we need tools. We need to know how to prioritize, get things on our calendar, and reduce the multi-tasking. So we first need to think about our time management issues – not getting to our most important work, not taking advantage of our talents and passions, getting distracted by little things, avoiding big projects.

Once you’ve figured out what your most intractable time management issues are, pick just one to take on, Bregman says. For example, you may struggle with prioritizing or it may be that you are a perfectionist. Whatever the case, pick one time management challenge you have, and then choose a strategy to solve the problem. If this works, move on to your next time management problem, and do the same thing. If it doesn’t work, try another time management technique.

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Cheryll Bissell

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