Working as a self-employed security professional can be very rewarding but it can also take over your life at times if you let it!
I have found one of the most useful skills needed, which is not taught on any Bodyguard course is that of time management. By this I am not talking about the time management of our clients as we have very little control over this, I am talking about the planning of your own personal time, the time that you allow yourself to complete any administration that you have to do.
You must make best use of your time whether your role allows you a lot of free time or whether your time is limited and you have to cram everything in when you can. More so if your situation is mirrors that of the latter!
We as human beings are not machines and to be as productive as we can be we have to manage our time effectively to enable time to relax and recharge our batteries. If time is not managed correctly things can quickly build up and get on top of you, this can affect your sleep and will definitely affect your thought process if you have an ever-growing “to-do list”.
When looking at time it can be classified in two categories “clock time and real time”.
There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 365 days in a year.
This is where time is relative, which means time will drag or fly depending on what we are doing. As the saying goes “Time flies when you are having fun” however when you are carrying out those mundane everyday tasks time will do anything but fly!
No matter what type of job you do your time can only be spent in three ways: thoughts, conversations and actions.
A large proportion of people go through life where a large portion of their time is spent “in thought” as opposed to “action”. If this is the case for you then your to-do list will get longer and longer and your relaxation time will get shorter and shorter.
The positive thing about “real time” is that it’s mental; it is the time you personally allocate yourself. You must remove yourself from any distractions Sky TV, Xbox or whatever it is that usually sabotages your time to take advantage of this.
Of course you cannot eliminate all interruptions but there are some you can certainly limit moving forward. By using your time effectively you will find you will enjoy the afore mentioned interruptions a lot more when you know you have nothing pending to take care of.
Time Management Tips
- Take 30mins to plan your day, give yourself a plan, allocate the time to complete and get ticked off items you have pending. Have the discipline to stick to this, its greatly rewarding as these tasks get ticked off one by one.
- Before making any phone call take 5mins to decide what you would like to achieve from the call, also take a little time after to reflect on whether you managed to achieve what you set out to achieve. If not, why not and how can you make it happen next time?
- If you have work you must attend to without disruption put a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside of your door or go to a library or somewhere quiet where disruption will be minimal and you can give your work your full attention.
- Prioritize your work so the most important and time sensitive items get taken care of first.
- If you are using your computer block out distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business. It is amazing how much time can be stolen getting sucked into social networking sites.
- Use any transit time you have well, dead time on trains and at airports are great to catch up on and empty your inbox or complete any IT related admin. This is “dead time” take advantage of it!
- Carry your equipment, you should have some form of IT device (Laptop, iPad etc) with you at all times if possible so you can take advantage of any spare time that may come your way.
- If you have too much to do, say “No”. People will understand!
Remember that it's impossible to get everything done……..there is a saying that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results so make these thoughts and conversations count!
You may ask why a ”Time Management” article in a Security related blog? Because as a security professional to stay on top of your game you must stay on top of your own personal administration! It is no good going on task having your personal thoughts clouded, if you have too much pending on your mind it will impede on your decision making, thought process and reaction time.
Shaun West (firstname.lastname@example.org)