Time Management II: Juggling Jobs and Being Busy
Thanks to Connecting Directors contributor Beth Campagno for this second installment of her two-part series on time management.
Attributed to everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Lucille Ball, it’s a quote that seems contradictory at first: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” If you’re busy, the last thing you want is someone asking you to do something else, right? Well, maybe not.
So many hats, so little time . . .
Everyone thinks they’re way too busy trying to manage everyday life. However, deathcare professionals are not only busy, but have the added stress of having to “plan” for the unexpected. You can try to “manage” time all day (and night) long. But when you get that middle of the night call, your planner goes out the window.
No one can realistically hope to do everything, let alone do it successfully. It’s critical to identify the most important things in the workday and eliminate anything that doesn’t meet those criteria.
Funeral directors who are also owners or managers are expected to be experts in their profession as well as in running or managing a business. Depending on the size of your operation, you’re not only working with families, but sometimes also wearing the hats of marketing director, human resources department, accountant, etc. You’re managing people as well as processes — each of which comes with inherent challenges and risks.
Busy vs. productive
Although multitasking was a requirement of workers for a minute, studies have proven that trying to do several things at the same time is impossible. Instead of making you more productive, skipping around from one task to the next actually detracts from your overall productivity. By dividing your attention among several projects, you become a jack of all trades, but master of none. You’re spinning your wheels, but gaining no real traction.
In other words, “busy” is simply not synonymous with “productive.” And of the two options, productivity should always be your goal.
To be productive, rather than just busy, consider these tips:
- Narrow your mounting priorities to a manageable number, perhaps three or less.
- Say “no” whenever possible, rather than automatically accepting yet another assignment or responsibility.
- Focus on achieving a positive outcome with your work instead of talking about how much work you have to do.
- Take your time responding to non-emergency messages, calls, or texts rather than stopping what you’re doing to answer.
Managing your time boils down to one simple principle: work smarter, not harder. If you’re juggling multiple jobs, consider delegating or outsourcing some responsibilities. When you need help, ask for it, and trust professionals for advice or assistance with services such as legal or accounting. With all of these options to help you run your deathcare business – maybe you really can do it all.