Be the star you are:
At the heart of good time management is self-worth, you must treat yourself like a star performer and maintain your self esteem.
Aristotle said, “Thinking requires leisure time,” and if you are always chasing something then there is not a lot of thinking going on. Learn to delegate. Pride yourself in allowing your team to share the glory, learn to shine the limelight on someone else and for them to appear knowledgeable.
Read through all the documents on your desk and in your email with the three categories in your mind. You are seeking to create three piles according to their importance.
Priority Items, Delegation Items, Reading Items:
The priority category is for three tasks only. Identify the three key documents that require your personal attention.
The next category is the for items that are less important. As you sort apply the Pareto Rule of 80:20. It will most likely evolve that 20% of this paperwork is best handled by you. The remaining 80% can be delegated to others.
The final reading category can be a black hole for many. It consists of magazine, journals, newspapers, reports and memos. Only work on this area when all the others are completed and allocate to travelling time. Travelling time on trains and planes are ideal locations for clearing this group.
Power of the delete button:
I had a call from a client who had just come back from a week’s holiday to an full inbox and in-tray. Mike groaned, “What should I do? There are 41 emails from one association alone.” My response? “What would happen if you delete them?” “Could I?” he asked in disbelief. “Well if you don’t tremble, feel physically sick and short of breath why not?” I retorted. “What is the worst thing that can happen if you delete them all?” Treat your in-tray in similar fashion and throw out whatever is a distraction. Filter on Priority Items, Delegation Items, Reading Items.
Out to lunch?
Be selective in networking events. Participate in those things that will give a positive ROI for your valuable time. Perhaps suggest meetings take place take at your office and serve chilled water as opposed to tea or coffee. If you wish to get more done, keep things on a business footing.
Here are my meeting guidelines:
1. Start of time -as soon as you have a few people there then get started - latecomers will soon get the message.
2. As you start, set a finishing time and do not overrun by more than a couple of minutes.
3. Go over the agenda with everyone. List the most important items and deal with them first. Resist the temptation to deal with the easiest ones to get the agenda cleared.
4. Delegate items that may drag on a bit, to two or three individuals. They can then resolve and come back with a concise report.
5. Establish a two hour deadline: People can only concentrate for so long and two hours depletes even the most stout hearted and seasoned meeting goers.
6. Meeting reports must be short. No powerpoint. Never turn out the lights... Snoring may follow...
7. Meetings should not be interrupted. Draw up your own strict guidelines.
8. Transform as many meetings as possible into:
- A Telephone call
- A Meeting in the hall
- A Meeting at the copier
- A Telephone call
- A Fax resume
- Telephone calls: Again create your own rules.
- Think tank:
Schedule time for you to think. But allow regular time to float ideas in your mind.
Allow time to take a power nap and if that is not feasible then take regular breaks from your computer. Many people experience a natural increase in drowsiness in the afternoon, about eight hours after waking. And research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning with a nap. If this not feasible, take a power walk instead. A midday change of pace or environment means more patience, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency and better health.
The difference between hot water and boiling water is just one degree of heat. And whilst that may not see a lot, it is the difference between a relaxing cup of tea and having the power to be able to power up a steam train! One extra degree of heat. That is all - that one degree extra effort, those small effective changes can make all the difference in powering forward with your life.