Professional Trainer, Facilitator and Speaker

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Time Management

Meetings:

  • Discourage and discontinue unnecessary meetings.
  • Allow participants to come and go as their contribution is needed and completed.
  • Ask what is the purpose of the meeting? Is this meeting really necessary?
  • Make decisions without meetings. Never use a committee if it can be done individually.
  • Whenever you must hold a meeting, use an agenda and stick to it.
  • Set a time limit. Start on time and quit on time.
  • Invite only those whose attendance is necessary and tell them what will be expected of them.
  • Have someone present to take concise notes for any necessary distribution.
  • Distribute minutes promptly, within 24 hours.
  • Try holding some meetings with everyone standing. More gets done in less time.
  • Minimize “small talk.” Do not contribute to unnecessary conversation yourself.
  • Spend a few minutes at the end to critique the meeting just concluded.
  • Read a good book on how to conduct better meetings.
  • Be prepared for the meeting. Resist tangents. Stay on course.
  • Consider alternatives to meetings, such as telephone conference calls.

Telephones:

  • Have someone or someway to screen incoming calls and offer to help callers on all routine matters.
  • Have someone or someway to “look up answers” for your return calls.
  • Outline topics to discuss before calling.
  • Screen and group your outgoing telephone calls; try to set aside a particular time for calling.
  • Group your calls so you can choose the time of day when people are most likely to be in and thus avoid interrupting yourself several times during the day to make calls.
  • Get through the social “small talk” as quickly as possible. Get right to the point and stay there.
  • Bring calls to a prompt close.
  • Tell long-winded callers that you have a pressing appointment or deadline.
  • As a last resort, try hanging up — while you’re talking.
  • Use automatic dialers to place calls.
  • Use telephone answering machines whenever appropriate.
  • Record and analyze your telephone calls periodically; find out what’s happening on your telephone.
  • Establish quiet hours during which you accept only emergency calls.
  • Instead of being irritated when the phone rings, remind yourself that it is your job calling. You’ll be less frustrated.

Drop-In Visitors:

  • Realize that interruptions are part of your job — it may be your attitude that needs readjustment.
  • Keep interruptions short and you’ll solve half your problems.
  • Have team members save up several items and go over them all at one time.
  • Don’t constantly interrupt others needlessly throughout the day.
  • Allow time for interruptions and unscheduled events in your daily plan.
  • Long-winded visitors are easier to get rid of if you never allow them to get seated in the first place.
  • Meet visitors outside your office. Hold stand-up conferences in hallways, reception areas, conference rooms.
  • Close your door for some quiet time.
  • Encourage the use of appointments rather than unscheduled visits.
  • Rearrange your furniture so you are not facing the traffic flow.
  • Be candid when someone asks, “Have a minute?” Learn to say NO.
  • Reorganize your workflow or the timing of your tasks.
  • Go to the other person’s office if they must see you; you’ll have more control of when to leave.
  • Learn to control the controllable and accept the uncontrollable; but be sure you really understand the difference.

Reading:

  • Divide the reading and exchange information with others.
  • Get off mailing and circulation lists. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions. Cut the flow to your “in basket”.
  • Have someone or someway to screen your mail and throw away, file, or re-route appropriate items.
  • Have someone else monitor trade journals, newspapers, or other reading material for any items you see.
  • Don’t read unimportant mail. Throw away junk mail immediately.
  • Be selective in what you read. You need information, not reading material. Find out what things contribute the most value.
  • Use newspaper reading techniques; scan, look for major ideas and important details. Seek out the primary logic of the document.
  • Learn to read smarter and retain more.
  • Learn to read faster.
  • Have others do your reading for you whenever possible.
  • Write less. Use the telephone more.
  • Consider the use of a good information recorded instead of written. You can listen in odd moments, such as travel time.

Paperwork:

  • Have someone or someway to answer much of the routine correspondence.
  • Dictate key thoughts. Let someone compose the letter.
  • Keep your desk top cleared for action. Get rid of the clutter. Throw away anything you possibly can.
  • After sorting, try to handle each piece of paper only once. Don’t set it aside without taking some action.
  • Don’t record it. Don’t ask for it. Throw it away. Discontinue it. Question its purpose and continued existence.
  • Use the best dictation equipment and word processing systems available.
  • Eliminate unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs — there’s nothing wrong with one paragraph letters.
  • Think before you write or dictate. Plan what you want to say.
  • Write for the reader using clear, concise fact-oriented language and style.
  • Don’t over-do revisions in the name of perfection when the added benefits may be small or non-existent.
  • Answer letters by making handwritten responses in the margin of the letter you received and mailing it back to the sender. Saves filing a carbon copy, too.
  • Generate as little paperwork as possible.
  • The number of documents in your files can be cut if you will make carbon copies of replies to incoming correspondence on the back of the letter received.

Crises & Firefighting:

  • Anticipate crises and work out contingency plans.
  • Make sure your time estimates are realistic.
  • Discuss priorities with employees.
  • Set deadlines for yourself and others.
  • Take time to do it right the first time; you won’t waste time doing it over.
  • Prevent recurring crises so you’ll have more time to handle the unique crises.
  • Check regularly with employees, peers, superiors to help spot potential problems that may be brewing.
  • Practice good time management in the midst of a crisis. Don’t start a second fire trying to put out the first one.
  • Start earlier; allow more lead time; don’t ignore deadlines.
  • Develop better follow-up and feedback systems.
  • Stop procrastinating and many crises will disappear.
  • If faced with constantly recurring crises, find out why things keep going wrong and fix them.
  • Turn a crisis into an opportunity to try new ideas, develop new procedures, find better ways to do things.
  • Rest and relax for a few minutes before tackling crisis problems.Prepare yourself for peak performance.
  • Encourage fast transmission of information which is essential for timely action.

Thinking & Analyzing:

  • Take a meditation break instead of a coffee break.
  • Carry note cards. Write down your ideas. Don’t rely on memory.
  • Obtain data on timewasters; analyze cause and effect.
  • Don’t make unnecessary assumptions. Check things out, get clarification.
  • Identify your “prime time", the time of day when you do your best work. Set this time aside for important projects.
  • Alternate “quiet” and “available” hours so you have time to think.
  • If something needs doing, ask yourself how it could be done better.
  • Think about ways to improve your job results.
  • Every manager’s job needs to include time every day just for thinking. Start by spending.
  • 15 minutes “thinking” per day. As you get used to it, gradually increase that amount of time.
  • Identify your habit patterns and work on developing better habits.
  • Establish a quiet hour at some particular time each day when no meetings, appointments or telephone calls are scheduled for you or anyone else.
  • Analyze your time to discover what you do, when you do it, why you do it.

Objectives & Priorities:

  • Make the first hour of your work day the most productive hour.
  • Discuss objectives, priorities and plans with your associates or key people first thing
    in the morning.
  • Learn to distinguish between the important and the merely urgent.
  • Clarify your long-term objectives; set your priorities; make sure you’re getting what you really want out of your job and your life.
  • Your objectives must be specific, realistic, measurable, and in writing with target dates specified.
  • Remember that there is always enough time to do the really important things.
  • Put signs in your office reminding you of your objectives.
  • Don’t always do someone else’s requests at the expense of your own top priority tasks.
  • Learn to say NO, logically, firmly, and tactfully.
  • Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of the value is accounted for by 20% of the items, while only 20% of the value is accounted for by 80% of the items. Learn to concentrate on your high value 20% activities.
  • Set at least one major objective each day and form the habit of achieving it — every day.
  • When conditions change be sure to change your objectives if necessary. As objectives are achieved, don’t forget to set new objectives.
  • You are never finished clarifying your objectives until you have determined the relative priority of each one.

Planning:

  • Write out a plan each week for accomplishing significant things.
  • Time planning involves answering four simple questions:
    1. What do I want to accomplish?
    2. What activities must be done to accomplish it?
    3. What are the priorities involved?
    4. How much time will each activity require?
  • Control starts with planning.
  • Recognize that planning takes time but planning also saves time.
  • Emphasize results, not activities.
  • Recognize that success is often in spite of, not because of, the methods used.
  • Develop the habit of planning each day.
  • Make sure your daily TO-DO list includes priorities and time estimates.
  • Schedule your time daily. Those things that are scheduled have a better chance of happening.
  • Planning the day’s activities need to be completed prior to the time you arrive in the office or plant. Otherwise you run the risk of being caught up in the events of the day before you have time to think about it.
  • Begin to proact instead of always reacting.
  • Plan some time in your day for you. Every day needs to include at least 15 minutes for you to spend on your most important personal objectives.
  • Plan time for breaks in your work routine so you can work refreshed, in peak form.
  • Good planners consistently get better results than poor planners. Remember, the difference between failure and success is two hours a day.

Delegation:

  • Take time to properly train and develop employees so you can delegate more.
  • Take time to provide good instructions — use good feedback techniques.
  • Don’t allow employees to delegate their problems upward to you. Ask for solutions, not just problems. Help them learn to make good decisions; allow for initiative.
  • Follow-up systems do not mean breathing down a person’s neck. Leave your employee/s alone to do the job, but maintain regular checks at critical points along the way.
  • Don’t confuse assignment of work tasks with delegation.
  • Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.
  • Avoid the tendency to"do-it-yourself”.
  • Train employees to handle more responsibility.
  • Delegate the right to be wrong. Use mistakes as a learning process.
  • Make sure you delegate enough authority to enable your employee/s to accomplish the intended result.
  • If you can’t control it, don’t delegate it.
    1. Steps for successful delegation:
    2. clarify the intended result.
    3. define responsibility and authority.
    4. create a motivating environment.
    5. require completed work.
    6. provide adequate training.
    7. establish proper controls.
  • Take time to create a motivating environment where employees will be encouraged to seek and accept more responsibility.

Indecision:

  • Don’t invest more time and energy in the decision than it’s really worth.
  • People are paid to get results, not to be perfect.
  • Improve fact-finding procedures.
  • Make decisions even when some facts are missing. Some risk is inevitable.
  • Use specialists to help you with special problems.
  • A huge timewaster is dealing with the past — rehashing former decisions , explaining bad ones, salvaging poor investments that ought to be written off and forgotten. Use the past as a guide to the future, not as an excuse for not dealing with it.
  • Don’t waste your time regretting your failures.
  • Improve your decision-making procedures. Get facts, set goals, investigate alternatives and negative consequences, make the decision,and implement it.
  • Recognize that indecision is often a form of procrastination. There is a time for deliberation and a time for action. When it is time to act, act with boldness.
  • If you’re not making any mistakes, you’re not doing anything significant.
  • The best time of the day to make important decisions is during your “prime time"— the hours when you’re in top form, have the clearest perspective, can think faster and better.

Miscellaneous:

  • Eliminate one timewaster from your life each week.
  • Enjoy whatever you’re doing.
  • Remember, you’re wasting your time whenever you spend it on something less important when you could spend it on something more important instead.
  • Learn not to waste other people’s time.
  • Constantly look for new techniques to help you gain more control of your time.
  • Don’t waste your time feeling guilty about what you don’t get done.
  • Eat a light lunch — with no alcohol — You won’t get sleepy in the afternoon.
  • Get tough about time. If you don’t respect your time, don’t expect others to respect your time.
  • Recognize that inevitably some of your time will be wasted on activities beyond your control don’t fret about it.
  • Use your diary, calendar, or notebook to record daily activities, achievements, sources of delay and time waste. Your notes may reveal all kinds of hidden problems and opportunities.
  • Keep a list of things which can be done in 5 minutes or less. Whenever you have just a few minutes and you don’t know what to do with them, go to your short-task list and pick one.
  • Continually ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now?”
  • Take time for you — time to dream, time to relax, time to live.
  • Do it NOW!