Time Management for the businessman and woman
If only I had more time.
How many of us haven’t felt this way…?
If only I could manage my time better, if only I had less stress. Sound familiar?
The term “Time management” is a contradiction in terms. You cannot manage time; it is a given. Time passes at a constant rate. You cannot borrow time, nor can you save up time for a rainy day. What you can manage is how you spend your time.
When doing your time management, you need to identify time thieves.
These are the most common time thieves:
- This is the biggest time thief of them all and in almost every survey on time thieves comes out in one of the two top spots.
- Consider doing the following:
- Switch off notifications which announce that emails have arrived.
- Set fixed times for reading and attending to emails during your day.
- Organise your emails into folders and keep filing systems.
- Telephone interruptions:
- As with any other interruption, a phone call takes your focus away from the task at hand, possibly prompting you to first take other (unplanned) actions, and by the time you have re-focussed and picked up where you last left off when the phone rang, 15min or more have passed.
- Try the following:
- Landline calls:
- Have fixed times when you take calls, preferably the last 15 to 30 min ahead of lunch or close of business. This is often the time when people are short and concise.
- Train your receptionist to screen incoming calls.
- Give the receptionist a short list of VIP clients that may be put through.
- Make a point of answering all messages within one working day; you may lose clients if you create the perception that you are totally unreachable and not responding to messages. Phone back even if it is only to advise that you have received the message and that you will come back with the relevant information.
- Never start a conversation with “How are you”. You are inviting the other party to grab your time coins. Rather start with “What can I do for you today”.
- Stay on topic, if the conversation starts drifting, gently steer the conversation back to the reason of the call.
- Mobile phones:
- Don’t give your personal phone number to anyone other than very close, trusted people who know when to phone you.
- When you don’t want to receive a call, switch your mobile phone off or make use of the forwarding function.
- Don’t answer calls of numbers you do not know.
- Landline calls:
- Poorly run meetings:
- Meetings which are not properly controlled or chaired can run for many hours, with different things being said and no decisions taken.
- Try to arrange meetings by planning in consideration of lunchtime. People will push to address issues in order to finalise things to be able to take their lunch.
- Send out the agenda at least 3 days ahead of the meeting.
- Start on time and don’t wait for late arrivals.
Next time we will explore more time management tips and how to keep focussed, how to delegate and how to plan your time.