SOME TIME SAVERS #2|
In my Time Management seminars, which I have conducted for
more than 100,000 people from around the globe, I show
people how to get more done in less time, with less stress;
to help them have more time for the things they want to do
in their work and personal lives.
If you can recapture a wasted hour here and there and
redirect it to a more productive use, you can make great
increases in your daily productivity and the quality of your
Here are five of the many techniques I share in our Time
Management seminars, each one of which will help you to get
at least one more hour out of your day for additional
1. Run an Interruptions Log The average person gets 50
interruptions a day. The average interruption takes five
minutes. Some five hours each day are spent dealing with
interruptions. Many are crucial and important and are what
we are paid to do but many have little or no value. Run an
Interruptions Log to identify and eliminate the wasteful
interruptions. Just use a pad of paper and label it
"Interruptions Log" Create six columns: Date, Time, Who,
What, Length, Rating. After each interruption is dealt with,
log in the date and time it occurred, who brought it to you,
a word or two about what it related to, the length of time
it took, and finally the rating of its importance:
A=crucial, B=important, C=little value, and D=no value. Run
it for a week or more to get a good measure of what is
happening in your life. Then evaluate the results and take
action to eliminate some of the C and D interruptions that
have little or no value.
2. Delegate It We all have 168 hours each week and when you
subtract 56 hours for sleep and another 10 hours for
personal care, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time to get
done what needs to be done. Delegation permits you to
leverage your time through others and thereby increase your
own results. The hardest part of delegation though, is
simply letting go. We take great pride in doing things
ourselves. "If you want a job done well, you better do it
yourself". Every night in Daily Planning, look at all that
you have to do and want to do the next day and with each
item ask yourself, "Is this the best use of my time?" If it
is, do it. If it isn't, try to arrange a way to delegate it
to someone else. There is a lot of difference between "I do
it" and "It gets done".
3. Manage Meetings A meeting is when two or more people get
together to exchange common
information. What could be
simpler? Yet, it can one of the biggest time wasters we must
endure. Before a meeting ask, "Is it necessary?" and "Am I
necessary?" If the answers to either are "no", consider not
having the meeting or excusing yourself from attending. Then
prepare a written agenda for the meeting with times assigned
for each item along with a starting time and ending time.
Circulate the written agenda among those who will be
attending. There is no sense in holding a meeting by ambush.
Let people know in advance what is to be discussed.
4. Handle Paper It's easy to get buried today in the
blizzard of paperwork around us. The average person receives
around 150 communications each day via email, telephone,
hard mail, memos, circulars, faxes, etc. A lot of time is
wasted going through the same pile of paper day after day
and correcting mistakes when things slip through the cracks.
Try to handle the paper once and be done with it. If it is
something that can be done in a minute or two, do it and be
done. If it is not the best use of your time, delegate it.
If it is going to take some time to complete, schedule ahead
in your day calendar on the day you think you might get to
it and then put it away.
5. Run a Time Log If you want to manage it, you have to
measure it. A Time Log is a simple yet powerful tool to
create a photo album sort of overview of how your time is
actually being spent during the day. Simply make an ongoing
record of your time as you spend it. Record the activity,
the time spent on it, and then the rating using A, B, C, and
D as described in #1 above. Some examples of how your time
might be spent: Made telephone calls, 35 minutes, A;
Answered emails, 48 minutes, B; Attended staff meeting, 55
minutes, C. Run this for a few days to get a good picture of
how your time is being spent. Then analyze the information.
Add up all the A, B, C, and D time. Most discover a lot of
their time is being spent on C and D items that have little
or no value. Finally, take action steps to reduce the C and
D items to give you more time for the really important
things in your life.
About the Author
Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, a full-time Professional Speaker, is
one of the foremost experts on Time Management and the
author of "Beat the Clock" and "Organizing Your Life". If
you would like to receive a free copy of his humorous
article, "You Just Might be a Workaholic", email your
request now for "might" to: mailto:email@example.com
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