My Thoughts by Rick Stephens

Simple Idea to Free Up Time

Posted in Time Management by Rick on the September 21st, 2006

One of the things that seem to cause havoc with businesses leaders is time management. We come to the office and immediately things begin to hit us. A new pile of mail on our desk needing attention, voice mail loaded up with calls to be returned, e-mails piled up from the previous day, not to mention the normal things we need to do just to get the job done. It can be over whelming for sure.

My experience shows that most people bring this chaos upon themselves, because they fail to prioritize their time and have no real plan for the day. They are reactors to external events. They are what I refer to as event driven managers. They allow the events of the day to drive their actions for the day.

Once you get behind the activity curve, the point where there is more activity than time to complete it all, there is nothing you can do except prioritize the activities and dedicate time until each task is completed. You must guard against interruptions at this point or it will become much like a credit card that is only paid the minimum each month, you’ll never finish.

Most of the time, people who are swamped with work are just not organized and are unaware that they are being inefficient with their time. To overcome this, plan your day and schedule specific times to address certain activities.

One of the mistakes managers make is addressing tasks multiple times before it is actually handled. Let me give you an example. The mail comes in and the administrator places it on your desk. You pick up the mail and quickly look through it to see if there is any thing important. You see that there is a letter from a customer, so you open it and read it. In the letter the customer is asking you to send them a list of invoices that are still outstanding. You make a mental note that you have an activity to complete for this customer and place the letter in your “In Box” or “To Do” box and you move on to the next letter.

What has happened here? You have devoted time to this task and put off acting on it until a later time. Sometime in the future you again pick up the letter and to reacquaint yourself with the required action, you re-read the letter. What you have done is doubled the amount of time spent on this activity. Seems like only a small amount of time, but multiply that by the thousands of activities you address each day and you can begin to understand why you do not have enough time in the day to complete all your “To Dos.”

So there is a basic rule to apply here which, if implemented, will free up more time than you will realize. Touch each activity only once. If you read the letter from the customer, be prepared to act upon that letter at that time and not at some future time.

Small things add up to big things. Try this for awhile and see if you don’t find more time during your day.

To Your Success -

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