Time is the only inelastic commodity that any of us possess. We are each allotted 24 hours to the day. Given the fact that time has an end for all of us, it is priceless and demands we steward it carefully.
Those who make their mark on the universe learn this well, the earlier the better. I’ve listened to some outstanding lessons on time management by Brian Tracy. This material is about a quarter of a century old but is timeless (pardon the pun). You can drink from the same well here.
A leader advances because he knows his time and that of those with whom he interacts is precious. So without further ado, here’s some tips that will increase your effectiveness, production and value in the marketplace:
- Arrive early for any appointments. People will take note quickly that you are a pro, a force in business. Being fashionably late may be de rigueur for parties and proms but it will destroy you in the marketplace.
- Use early morning hours to get a lot of work done. Tracy points out that it’s possible to get the work of a typical day done in 3 hours of undisturbed effort.
- Turn off your smart phone. If it’s important, those trying to get you will leave a message or call back.
- Find gracious ways of economizing or taking leave of people who tend to waste their time as well as yours. “Hi. What can I do for you?” You’re not helping them or yourself by letting them simply drop in to chew the fat when you should be working. Again, this is for business. Don’t do this with family or friends.
- Keep your workspace organized, free of clutter.
- When making appointments to meet with someone, prepare an agenda on paper, smart phone, PDA or iPad. Set a definite timeframe for the meeting and announce it ahead of time. If it’s 30 minutes, end it at 30 minutes and be on your way. It will speak volumes.
- Write down the contents of phone discussions or meetings. When meeting with customers, follow up your discussions with an email. This keeps assumptions crystal clear. It will save your time and your neck, believe me.
- Remember that really high achievers understand the value of minutes, not just hours.
- When discussing a topic, ask direct and specific questions. When answering, get to the point. The only time you should exercise the urge to “Ramble On” is when you’ve got Led Zeppelin’s 2nd album cued up.
Enough for now. If you follow these steps diligently, you will see your production increase, your influence grow and your income go north.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (David Allen)