Our return on time

Time is one of the most valuable assets in our lives. We cannot manufacture more of it; all we can do is optimize what we have. Thousands of books have been written on this subject, Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits’ being the most famous.

Without reading yet another book, what are just two refresher points for us to start today?

  1. Try loosening the grip of email. Email (and of course Facebook) can be the biggest derailer of our return on time. A few tips:
    • Turn off your email alarm. 
    • Check your email once or twice a day – period. 
    • Move your messages only once: read it, respond to it, delete it, or put it in the ‘follow-through’ folder.
    • State what you need from your team/employees in the subject line – don’t bury the plot. This will expedite their response and help you keep your files and projects organized. 
    • Eliminate the ‘reply all’ unless requested by the sender of the message. 
    • Email can and will control us, if we let it.
  2. Try planning and/or compartmentalizing your days and week. This is not rocket science. However, a few of my clients struggle with what I call the ‘swarming’ effect. They have so much to get done, that things start to implode on them. It has happened to all of us at one time or another. A suggestion: try compartmentalizing certain times of day for key actions which need to get done. For example, in your high energy time of day – focus on clients, executive presentations, or follow-through on ‘high-concentration’ items. On a more macro level, try choosing certain days of the week for travel, writing, proposal, office work, etc. Only you know your body clocks and business rhythms. Pay attention to them. Work within them. This will help to structure your hours, days, and weeks in the most appropriate way. And, by the way, these rhythms change. So, what worked for you last year may not work this year. Listen to what is working for you and change accordingly.

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