Secrets of Successful Time Management

Select five to seven of the following time management ideas that you feel will provide you the greatest value in managing your own professional and personal time. Consider these ideas as support structures for your use with your colleagues.
The 80/20 rule always applies – List two to four of your activities that produce the greatest results and eight to ten that produce minimal results. (Share with the group.)
Determine your hourly value to achieve your annual income goals.
Break projects down into monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly income goals.
Plan the next day in advance before you leave your office.
Think geographically and avoid excessive travel time between appointments. Use drive time to learn or use a “Bluetooth” device to talk with key people. How else can you think geographically?
Confirm all appointments to avoid dead time.
Work on your relationship skills. Great relationship skills produce great results. Can you prove this?
Where is your time going? Do a time log on a daily, weekly, and perhaps a monthly basis. Write it down exactly so you can find the real time-wasters. Awareness of your actual situation is critical.
Create a new daily routine – 90% of all human behavior is habitual. “If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.” “When patterns are broken new worlds will emerge.”
Prioritize and stay focused. What one or two items on your list must absolutely be finished? What are your priorities today, this week, and this month at home and at work?
Reduce interruptions by creating stronger boundaries. What are your ideas regarding the establishment of boundaries?
Don’t take work home. Staying a little later or arriving earlier is better. Set time limits for yourself.
Structure your telephone time. Set up times to accept, initiate, and return calls. The best time to accept incoming calls is just prior to lunch or at the end of the workday. The other person will not want to waste time. Initiate or return calls early in the morning, just before or after lunch, or at the end of the day to contact difficult-to-reach individuals. Consider scheduling all, if not most of your important calls. Consider a phone call a mini-meeting, so be prepared with an agenda and all you will need to be successful.
“Eat That Frog” – Do the most unpleasant task first.
Be aware of what you promise. Under-promise and over-deliver.
Scheduling down time in your day helps to recover your mental and physical energy.
Scheduling meetings with yourself is a good way to accomplish key objectives. How can this help you be more effective with your use of time?
Work with your body’s natural biological rhythm. Are you a night owl or a morning person? If you wear out in the mid afternoon, consider a quick nap to recharge your battery. Have an air mattress in your office.
Get rid of toxic people in your life. They drain you and waste your time. Who are the toxic people in your life? How could you limit their impact on your time?
Get plenty of sleep and exercise, and eat quality foods. Develop a project action plan with a scoreboard to track your results.
Use the power of momentum. Objects in motion stay in motion. Starting and stopping often breaks up your momentum. Grouping “like activities” back to back takes advantage of momentum. (Strategic Coach – Dan Sullivan)
Consider a news and media fast. Stop reading the newspaper and watching the news for at least a week and see what happens. Important news still will find its way to you. What else can you eliminate from your daily life that would not be missed?
Improve your communication skills so you reduce the need to repeat yourself.
Learn to say “NO” in an appropriate way. You may be pleasing others at your own expense.
Consider delegating more tasks to co-workers or family members. Jobs that you are currently doing may actually be developmental opportunities for others. Select at least two items at work and one item at home that you will delegate. Next week, select more.
Consider effectiveness over efficiency. Whom do you know that accomplishes more in 8 hours than others do in 10 or 12?
Discard some of the stuff in your life. Stuff has to be maintained, and this takes time. What stuff in your life requires too much maintenance?
Let others work for you. If your time is worth $250 per hour, how many services could you hire out for just one hour of your time? Buy prepared food, have supplies delivered, shop via catalog, pay bills online, stop doing errands, have someone “clean out” your junk mail and your spam e-mail, hire a housecleaner, a driver, and a personal organizer, etc. Choose one or two and put this support structure into place by the end of the week.
Set artificial deadlines for yourself. “The task expands to fit the time available.” Look at how much you can accomplish when you’re preparing to go on vacation.
Make a list of 10 things you do each week that you hate. Brainstorm ways to remove at least half of these items from your list in the next week.
Have a family meeting to discuss roles and responsibilities around the home. Distribute duties accordingly.
Cut your appointment time by one third. Each one-hour meeting will now be only forty minutes. Schedule phone meetings that will last only five to fifteen minutes. You will be surprised by the fact that you can actually accomplish your objectives in this limited time. List two to three current meetings in which you will try this strategy.
Produce greater results through others by mastering your Leadership, Management, and Coaching skills.
Use a contact/time management system like Outlook, ACT, Franklin, or Goldmine to organize your activities and keep your mind free to think creatively. What are some ways you currently use these systems to save time?
Hire a business, personal, or technology coach to help you put the necessary support structures in place to create new sustainable habits.
Limit interruptions and distractions by communicating new guidelines for gaining your attention. Appropriately using a closed door and/or a “do not disturb” button on the phone or simply scheduling your open-door times work well. What are some other ways you can limit such interruptions?
Stephen Covey uses the phrase, “Sharpen the Saw” as a way of investing in the preparatory activities necessary to be most effective. Training, planning, and organizing are examples of ways to sharpen the saw. What are some others?
Striving for progress versus “perfection” is a way to free up tremendous time and energy. What does this statement mean to you?
Conduct “standing meetings.” When someone enters your office, consider conducting your meeting in a standing position. This will let the person know that you have very limited time. Also, consider conducting a “walking meeting,” in which issues are discussed while walking.
Learn the difference between the “urgent” and the “important” and make time for the latter. What are two or three important areas of your life that you never seem to have time for?
Let your actions spring from your personal goals and values.
Eat your “elephant” one bite at a time. Break up your big projects into little projects.
Rewarding yourself for reaching a particular goal will help reinforce the behaviors you are developing.
Handle papers that cross your desk only once. Reviewing your mail next to a trash can is an example of this enabling behavior.
Source: Thank you to Barry Demp for sharing this article. Barry Demp is a business coach and often referred to as the “coach’s coach”. For more information visit: Stay tuned for additional secrets in next month’s newsletter.
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