Our most precious asset isn’t our home, bank account, stock portfolio, boat, car or anything else.
In most instances, if you were to lose any of these things mentioned you have the knowledge and experience to get them back, but the one thing we can never get back are the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years that have passed by.
As human beings our time is our most valuable asset, everybody knows that. That being said we need to be ultra-disciplined with our time and protect it like a father and nurse it like a mother.
Sales trainer Brian Tracy says that the number one reason why business owners and sales professionals fail is because of their inability to manage their time effectively.
How many hours have you lost at work because of mis-managing your time?
Even if it’s just 2 hours per day that adds up to 10 hours per week if you work 5 hours per day.
In a 50 week per year work schedule that’s 500 hours or a little over 20 days in just 1 year that you’ll never get back. Ouch!
In this post we’re going to cover a few things that will protect your time in a work environment so you can be more productive and get at least an extra 2 hours out of your day.
Warning, what you’re about to read are recommendations for people who are serious about their work and committed to getting results.
Some of the short-term affects of following this advice may offend some people, but in the long-term the same people will come to respect you.
“You got a minute?” or “Quick question”
Whenever you hear these words be prepared. Rarely is it ever just a minute nor a quick question.
5 minutes here and 15 minutes there a few times per day add up. While they may be a nice person, you have to be firm and turn them down.
I know what you’re thinking, “You’re mean and unreasonable!” Not true.
If you grant them the time they ask for you’ll condition them to think it’s ok to ask you for bits and pieces of your time.
Soon others will be asking for crumbs of your time and it will snowball into an avalanche of time-wasting with no end.
Also, by you allowing them to continue it sub-communicates that your time is not important or less important than theirs.
So what’s the solution?
Politely respond, “I’m super busy right now. Let’s plan to meet at 4:30 for 5 or 10 minutes and we’ll go over any other questions you might have at the same time.”
By deferring quick question, one of 2 things will happen. They’ll either find a solution on their own and you won’t have to meet with them or you’ll have saved tons of time by meeting with them later in the day after your work is complete.
You must do this every time with consistency and condition people to respect your time. After a while you’ll notice people will become more competent and figure things out on their own and they’ll take your time seriously.
Another “time-thief” is excessive meetings.
While meetings are important, it’s excessive and undisciplined meetings that suck the life and energy out of your day and ultimately your bank account.
Excessive meetings give people a false sense of significance and allow people to hide from taking responsibility and being productive while they’re scarfing down bagels and usually gossiping.
Here are a few ideas to implement to have a minimum-time, maximum-impact meeting.
1. Know the outcome of the meeting and have a written agenda of topics to be covered in the meeting.
2. Have the meeting right before lunch or before the end of the day to minimize time-wasting as people will look forward to getting everything handled so they can go to lunch or go home after the meeting.
3. Don’t serve food or drinks.
This ultimately becomes a distraction. You can’t talk if you have food in your mouth anyway. All it does is add time to the meeting.
4. Have an escape plan.
Establish a time-constraint.
Let the people in the meeting know you don’t have much time because you have an appointment with a client immediately following the meeting.
Another idea I learned from expert business advisor/consultant Dan Kennedy is you can have someone come and get you or call you at a specified time.
He says, “You can then excuse yourself only long enough to take the call and return if you need to – but you probably won’t.”
Almost every organization has somebody who overreacts to things and makes the smallest of things huge.
I remember working with a guy that was like this.
He was actually a nice guy, but he seemed to always be worked up about something.
I made the mistake one time of getting tangled up in a conversation with him and there was no way out. My fault.
I would recommend staying away from these type of people during productive hours and if they engage you in a conversation immediately cut to the chase and quickly give them a solution to whatever they’re worked up about and move on and get out of there.
These type of people often times don’t want a solution, but just want to vent their emotions. Just get out of there and they’ll find somebody else to vent with.
Sometimes people will initiate conversations with you about topics that have no importance.
Whatever the reason may be cut the person off and let them know, “I have a lot of important things to get done today. Everything else will have to be dealt with later. Is it urgent or can we talk about this tomorrow?”
Most often than not they’ll respond, “No, but…” and continue.
Immediately interrupt them and politely say, “Great! We’ll handle it tomorrow.”
This might upset the person which is ok.
You need to ask yourself what’s more important, wasting precious time pleasing unproductive people or getting things done?
Against the Norm
The advice given in this post flies in the face of what any human resource person or management theory would promote, but if your job is results-driven and you want to be more productive this is practical advice that will get you there.
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