For many people their reality is the better they get at multi-tasking and being efficient, the more activities are thrown their way. Rather than freeing up time to go home on time, organised people get a reputation for getting things done, so guess what? They end up getting more things to do. There is a limit to efficiency and once we try doing multiple tasks at the same time, it’s game over, as it turns out our brains are not designed to work this way. Even applying our multi-tasking skills to switching between tasks, has a limit - when we try to switch too often.
Most managers will eventually figure out that the number of activities they could do is infinite. Managers get into these positions because they are hardworking and self-driven. The problem is they do not manage themselves very well. They schedule 60 hour weeks for themselves and then wonder why they are always the last one to leave the office. The trick is two-fold: Have less time; and only plan to only do the most important and most urgent things.
Ironically, when we have less time, we get more done. If we plan our week as though we have 20 hours available, we would end up getting a lot more done, due the urgency it creates - shorter deadlines. If we then triage everything we have to do and only prioritise the most urgent and most important things and get those done, we will be a lot more effective than trying to cram all the nice things in that we believe we should be doing.
The last point is to make sure you communicate your priorities, to those around you. Tell them what did not make the cut. Remember even when you do those 60 hours weeks there is a long list of things that didn’t make the cut. Managing the cut line is a key skill in time management. For those who will get to play the new game in one of my courses, I won’t give away any more, for the rest of you reading this, plan what you absolutely have to do, stick it in your diary as a priority, and then make sure you do it first!