Days Are Long. Years Are Short.
Use your watch not your calendar to set deadlines.
Whether setting a task for yourself or for others it is far preferable to glance at your watch when establishing a deadline rather than your calendar. Your calendar belongs in a drawer. Near at hand but not too close.
Short deadlines create a sense of urgency.
An old adage is that if you need something done, give it to a busy person. I’ve learned that to be a useful approach.
Seemingly large tasks which you initially might not think of as being measured in hours can quickly be understood through the prism of the minute hand.
Imagine you run an Italian restaurant, upscale dining and reasonably successful. Yet you feel the need to change your menu; maybe it is years old. Developing a new menu for a full-service restaurant has plenty of complexities. Issues involving to-go orders, product storage, kitchen layout, and countless other variables merit consideration.
The key is to break this moon launch into bite size pieces, and you do that by recognizing that days are long, but years are short.
You break this menu idea bite-size pieces. We all know how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. It works, but only as long as you keep taking bites. That is the core of project management. Move the ball.
What are some of the steps that would need to be taken if developing a new menu?
• Understand selling percentages from your POS on the existing menu. (note: it’s not a POS System. The S stands for system. Drives me crazy when I hear POS system. It’s like a PIN Number)
• Understand food cost percentages, loss leaders and beverage sales from your existing menu.
• Generate other menu options, perhaps from Italian restaurants you respect.
• Set an appointment with your printer to review paper stock, menu covers, order delivery times, etc.
Use your watch to set the professional deadlines in your calendar. By EOD commit to having created a little GANTT chart by the consequence of your calendar entries. You might have three separate meetings with your culinary team, two meetings with the printer, several blocks of time to address labor or food costs issues, but in your calendar right now the key is you address each of those needed elements. Basically you get done, within minutes, the trigger of much action.
Immediately that decision to modify the menu mandates you send a calendar invite to the culinary team to discuss the food cost analysis. Not a meeting to assign the food cost task, but a meeting to review findings and develop a strategy for the next menu. Move the ball.
Send a separate email to the printer asking her to remit various options for printing.
Separate email, perhaps to yourself, to run that point of sale report for existing menu items. I know in some restaurants all these things might be done by YOU! (Something else to work on)
Time management is the act of controlling events. You have a better chance to control events if you use your watch. Days are long. You will do so much today. Think about how many little things you know you will do in one day.
Years fly by and in retrospect appear so short. Look in your rear-view mirror of time and consider how often you tried to do too much, that you wish you’d done less. If you are like me, you don’t really have many of those times.
But how about wishing you had done more? I have so many times in my past where I could have tried harder, been more engaged, gotten off the sideline and on the field, so to speak.
No one looks back on having learned the piano or sung in the choir or landed a role in a school play where in retrospect they wished they’d just veg’d out on the sofa instead. We are at our best when we participate.
My son was just telling me the other day that he heard that the average worker works three hours a day. I don’t know where he got that or if it can be verified, but if it is close to true about you or those in your orbit, it suggests a big opportunity to add significance.
This brings to mind for me the concept of average and the opportunity to always be a bit better than average on anything you do. If you can strive to be above average in everything you do, then what you become is extraordinary. Just to that little extra every time and the extra over the ordinary makes you extraordinary, and that sounds pretty good to me.
Are you about average, is your team above average? I know you want to think it is but if history is a guide your team on average is probably working about three hours a day. Time management is not about getting done everything assigned to you. That’s what worker bees do. Time management reflects a differentiation between urgent and important; time management represents the act of controlling events; time management recognizes that if you are not part of the problem you are part of the problem; time management means that you dictate the pace of change and by virtue of that you matter immeasurably. Bingo! Job satisfaction. Job satisfaction turns on the hinge of how much you matter.
Use your watch when setting deadlines. Days are long, years are short.