Stop Wasting Time Trying to Manage Time (Part 3) #114
Here it is, the BIGGEST time waster of all. There is one activity that never makes anyone’s calendar, yet we waste oodles of time on it…
Most people constantly interrupt their workflow to read or respond the moment someone sends an email. One word of advice – DON’T.
Bless Tim Ferriss for his book The 4 Hour Workweek. He suggests you do email less often. Wean yourself and those you email too! I promise, people will adjust to getting a response within 24 hours instead of instantaneously.
Also, don’t ever begin your day with email. Once you open the dreaded inbox, you are no longer working your plan, but reacting to other people’s.
Answer and respond to email 1-3 times each day in concentrated batches and watch how much time you save! I’m down to once or twice a day. (Do the same with all your social media as well – these are time hogs if you don’t watch it.)
And Finally…THE Number ONE Way to Manage Your Priorities (and your days) Successfully!
I know this will seem laughably simple, but it really works! The first thing every morning, (or even the night before) write down the 1-2 MOST important things you need to accomplish that day. Never write down more than two.
How do you know they are the most important? They are those tasks that if left undone would consume your thoughts, energy, quiet time and perhaps sleep. You know what they are – THAT phone call, THAT project’s finishing step, THAT conversation you know you need to have, THAT sales call.
Here’s the important part – make these two actions your very first activities of the day and only move on when you’ve completed them. Do not open email, do not go to a meeting, do not have a quick conversation, do not check your voicemail, do not pass go and do not collect $200 because you will be in jail (in your own mind) if you don’t do them first. And don’t worry – over time it gets easier and more productive!
Test this for one week and watch what happens. By practicing just this one tip, you’ve set yourself up to maximize your success! Observe what happens while doing this over a month’s time and you’ll be amazed. Your most important tasks will no longer be the ones you “fit in”, but those you lead and succeed with.
Stop having unproductive meetings:
- Limit meetings to only those you absolutely must-have.
- Have an objective for every meeting
- Hold “standing” meetings – don’t sit down. Walking meetings are also a great way to get in your steps!
- Stick to the agenda (you always have one, right? Learn what works for you)
- Don’t have comfy chairs (and watch how focused everyone becomes.)
- Limit your “gotta minute” meetings. (You know, the ones where someone’s walking by and interrupts your focused time with a thought that for some reason just can’t wait. See blog “#61 Your Choice.” Most of these can be written down or scheduled and they will lose nothing.
As with anything new, you will need to practice your new promise management skills and adjust. I’ve not met anyone – myself included – who perfected it the first time. Be patient and stick with it. After all, we don’t want to waste any more of your precious time!