When I ask clients to let me know, “What is the most critical problem you wish to resolve right now?” invariably it is TIME. This issue comes up more often than any other in my surveys.
Here are four action steps that will change the way you relate to your calendar and thus, your time!
- Weed Your Meetings: If you’re a typical executive, you’re spending 37 percent of your time in meetings. Ask yourself: “Which meetings do I contribute value, gain information to improve my or my team’s performance, or make a difference to the outcome?” These are you must-attends. Challenge yourself to remove or be removed from the attendee list of any meetings that don’t meet these criteria. It’s not easy and certainly worth the effort. Then enjoy every hour you gain!
- Curtail the Interruptions: One major time suck is interruptions. The average employee spends 28 percent of their time with unnecessary interruptions according to Basex, Inc. Start an interruption log. As you will see, some interruptions are part of your job. You will also note consistent interrupters. Respond to these as you would any other system breakdown. Challenge yourself to begin designing problem-solution ideas; and then, start introducing your concepts to your co-workers. This practice will initiate the process of reclaiming your time.
- A “No” is Your Friend: A “yes” to everything guarantees an overloaded desk. It may sound counter-intuitive; however, the moment you strategically say “no” you become more valuable to your company. So, halt your instinctive automatic “yes” and instead ask yourself two questions. First, “Am I the only one who can do this?” Second, “Is this project more important than what I’m currently slated to complete?” If the answer to both questions is “yes,” go for it! If the answer is “no,” enjoy the stress free-time because it isn’t yours to do now—if ever.
- Prime Time Save Time: All of us have a “prime work time” or the optimal period where your energy, concentration, and productivity most effectively come together. Have you figured out when your “prime work time” is? You know that period during the day when you’re most able to focus on the challenging assignments with ease. The more you schedule your tough tasks to match your prime energy time, the faster more effortlessly you will achieve your highest productivity level.
Yes, I know, these appear to be such simple ideas. And yet, they will create a tremendous impact on the time you have available daily to make a difference to your career, but more importantly, this focus permits you to pay attention to the big, career-making projects that will make a difference to your company.