Have you ever found yourself trying to run faster than time because you have so much to do? Wouldn’t you rather dance in tune with time than race with it? Think of time management as small steps that you need to take with each project and you’ll find that you not only get more done, you actually feel better doing it. When trying to dance with time, learn the TAPP steps. These steps are: listing tasks and priorities, scheduling appointments and priorities, and taking people into account when planning. When trying to dance to the tune of time, you can think of it in terms of the three action steps (or verbs) mentioned in the TAPP Step Chart*: list, schedule, and look. Or you can look at it as the four nouns that make up the components of a dance: tasks, appointments, priorities, and people (TAPP).
Let’s look first at time management in the traditional “do” way.
- existing tasks or to-do items and then set priorities to do.
- Schedule Your appointments and canceling any of them may interfere and not personally help you achieve your goals for the day.
- It is considered to others only if it helps you get things done.
Doesn’t this sound fun? Wouldn’t you love to be competitive with others using this time management philosophy? If you were dancing with someone who uses this philosophy, do you think it would matter to them if they stepped on your feet?
Now let’s look at time management using the four nouns as a guide instead of the verbs.
- Tasks You must write down what is necessary not to forget to do. Believe it or not, just creating a to-do list and following through on it can greatly increase your effectiveness. After making a to-do list, you should identify the most important items that need to be accomplished and when is the best time to do them. If the task is necessary, it should be part of a planned effort, plan it out by making an appointment with yourself for the necessary time. If it is not necessary, delay it until it is necessary or it may be eliminated all together. A good to-do list can also reduce the time spent creating progress reports or updating project plans.
- assignments The important thing is to keep it. If it’s not an important appointment, someone else has to go to the meeting instead, cancel the appointment, or not agree to make the appointment in the first place. If the decision is to schedule an appointment, a planning calendar is the tool to use for scheduling the appointment. Having and using a planning calendar will ensure that important appointments are written down for memory. Using a planning calendar means always listing appointments and referring to a list of appointments every day so that appointments and meetings happen on time. In addition to making appointments with individuals or groups, it’s important to make time for yourself in order to get important things done.
- priorities Make sure you do the things that are important to achieving your goals. Priorities are usually set as high, medium, or low. Then it executes the tasks in the order of assigned priority: high first, then medium, then if time is low. Remember to set higher priorities for those tasks that will lead to the achievement of important goals or projects. When scheduling time with yourself, place high-priority tasks during your individual peak performance time.
- the people Helpful both in important appointments and in completing high priority tasks. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the needs and opinions of others. Learn to take advantage of and value people who can help achieve your goals. Others can help meet deadlines and accomplish tasks and goals. Different people have different skills, talents, abilities and desires. Everyone can contribute where it suits them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate responsibility. Don’t disappoint someone by not fulfilling or missing a commitment and making an appointment, their time is just as valuable as yours.
Does this sound like a time management plan you can live with? Will using TAPP steps make you feel like you’re dancing with time instead of racing against it? If you answered yes to either question, why not give it a try for a couple of months? What do you have to lose? It is nothing but an old mentality. What do you have to earn? We hope you will make better use of your time and improve relations.
*Note: These TAPP steps are taken from the book “TAPP Steps in Time Management.”