Look at your appointment calendar. See any "white space"?
If you're like most busy CEOs and business professionals, you
are booked non-stop for meetings, luncheons, dinner meetings,
charity functions, planning sessions and... Well, you get the idea.
In between the bookings, you scramble to keep up with projects,
reviews, financial reports, investors, staff, customers and suppliers.
Tired yet? This weariness can wreak havoc on your business.
Consider the symptoms of fatigue: lack of innovation, irritability,
reduced productivity, and stress. The list goes on. And we are
frequently unaware of how run down we are getting.
We are moving away from the industrial age into the information
age, yet the work ethic that most of us grew up with taught us to
maximize work time - time at the factory or the office. Even our
language reflects the inherent value judgment of time away
from work. We call non-work time “off-time” or “down-time”.
The emergence of creativity, ideas, and information as our most
valuable resources, and the pervasiveness of the global, 24-hour
business world has changed our concept of “time equals money”.
Now, it’s “results equals money”. And we all know that more time
at the office does not mean more results. In fact, it often means
fewer results and more mistakes.
Build some "white space" in your life. Build reserves of time.
Create more-than-enough time to do the things you want and
need to do.
Let's get something straight first. Building a reserve of something
you need in your life is only one part of the puzzle. The other piece
is to identify what is draining your reserves. If you're pouring into
the top of a leaky bucket, you won't make much progress.
Let's look at how to create reserves of time. Many of my new
coaching clients complain of having too little time. Their "time tank"
is running on empty, so they feel uptight, frustrated, flustered,
pulled in every direction, and tired. Often, this is the first thing we
work on together. Clearly, a reserve of time would reduce the stress.
So, how do you do it?
Start by plugging the leaks. Let go of some of the activities that
are consuming your time. Many of today's high performers seem
to have a common thread: the "Superman/Superwoman" ideal;
i.e., Taking on everything and trying to get it done by tomorrow.
Success or failure often seems to be measured by the state of
"busyness". Face it; you can't do justice to everything at once and
you often don't have perspective of all you have going on. It's like
tossing another ball to the juggler...33 at once for the average
busy executive. Focus on what counts. Take aggressive action
to let go. Here are some possibilities:
Let go of tasks that someone else can do - Good delegation
is a key skill for managers, yet the average manager spends 45%
of his or her time on tasks that could be done by a staffer. "I can
do it better and faster", you say. Sure you can, but ultimately, you
are judged on what you can cause to happen, not just what you
can do on your own. As a general rule of thumb, in non-critical
cases, if another person can accomplish a task 80% as well
as you, delegate. |
Let go of your need to say "Yes" to every request - Those around
you will give you all the work you are willing to take. This is true in
both our business and personal lives. Some of the most stressed
people around can't say no to the next fund-raiser, the next
committee, the Little League, the church, etc., etc., etc. Politely,
but firmly say “No”. Examine all the organizations where you
spend your time. Which ones can you "let go"?|
Let go of some meetings - The typical manager spends 17
hours each week in meetings plus 6.3 hours getting ready for
those meetings. Nearly a third of that time in meetings is wasted.
That works out to be about six full weeks of the year of useless
meeting time. You've seen the symptoms: hastily called meetings,
no ending time stated, no agenda, no official record of what was
done or said, no followup. If even one hour per week is saved,
it could mean two additional effective workdays per year!|
Skip some of the meetings or send someone else.
Let go of interruptions - Interruptions can drain 1-2 hours a day.
Rather than spend time with anyone who happens to stop by,
close the door, turn off the phone or work from home one day
Let go of the clutter - Is your desk or credenza piled with pending
and unfinished work that will be done when you "get around to it?"
The average businessperson spends 3 hours each week looking
for things plus 2 hours being distracted by the stuff lying around.
The most effective people work from a clean desk. Having an
uncluttered desk helps you stay focused on your most important
Let go of useless tasks - quit doing some of the routine things
you do just because "that's what I've always done". Practice good
priority management. Plan each day to stay focused on those
tasks that will move you toward your goals. Watch for tasks that
can be delegated or simply dropped.|
Let go of "Crises management" - Ever feel that you're leaving
a trail of unfinished projects, unreturned phone calls, unread mail,
partially completed reports? Crises arise from a job we left
unfinished to work on another unfinished task. Another term
for crisis management is "fire fighting."|
Most of this is really caused by losing focus of true priorities.
Learn to tell the difference between "urgent" and "important".
Many people pay a heavy price for their success -
poor health, failed marriages, neglected friendships, no self-
development in any area except business. Start today to plug the leaks and create ample reserves of time for yourself.
You've heard the phrase, "It's lonely at the top". When you are the
Chief Executive Officer of the company, who do you talk to about
really important issues? Running an enterprise should be
challenging, exciting, rewarding and fun. It doesn't have to be
lonely at the top.
The world has become a complicated
place in which to live. A personal strategic plan can help you get
clarity and focus on your own preferred future. This article shows
you how to create your Personal Strategic Plan.
Prioritizing Your Day To Accomplish More
Prioritizing is a very important function of being organized.
It is another method that puts you in control of your work
responsibilities. In order to effectively prioritize, learn to
recognize the difference between the important, the urgent and
Quiet Time - The Greatest Technique of Time Management
Quiet time is a very effective tool in your workbox. By
committing to quiet time every day, you are being proactive,
and taking control of how to make the best use of your time,
which is a part of being organized.