Five Strategies To Help You Make the
Most of Your Time
By Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
you can recapture a wasted hour here and there and redirect it to a
more productive use, you can make great increases in your daily
productivity and the quality of your life.
are five techniques you can use, each of which will help you get at
least one more hour out of your day for additional productive time:
Run an Interruptions Log. The
average person gets 50 interruptions a day. The average interruption
takes five minutes. Some five hours each day are spent dealing with
interruptions. Many are crucial and are what we are paid to do, but
many have little or no value. Run an Interruptions Log to identify and
eliminate the wasteful interruptions.
a pad labeled “Interruptions Log,” create six
columns: Date, Time, Who, What, Length and Rating. After each
interruption is dealt with, log in the date and time it occurred, who
brought it to you, a word or two about what it related to, the length
of time it took and, finally, the rating of its importance
(“A” for crucial, “B” for
important, “C” for little value and
“D” for no value).
this log for a week or more to get a good measure of what is happening
in your life, then evaluate the results and take action to eliminate
some of the “C” and “D”
interruptions that have little or no value.
Delegate it. We all have 168 hours
each week. When you subtract 56 hours for sleep and an additional 10
hours for personal care, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to
complete what needs to be done. Delegation permits you to leverage your
own time through others and thereby increase your own results.
hardest part of delegation, though, is simply letting you. We take
great pride in doing things ourselves; just look at the saying,
“if you want a job done well, you better do it
night, while planning the next day, look at all you have to do and want
to do that day. For each item, ask yourself, “Is this the
best use of my time?” If it is, do it. If it isn’t,
try to delegate it to someone else.
is a lot of difference between “I do it” and
“It gets done.”
Manage Meetings. A meeting is when
two or more people get together to exchange common information. What
could be simpler? Yes, meetings can be one of the biggest time-wasters
we must endure.
a meeting, ask, “Is it necessary?” And,
“Am I necessary (to the meeting)?” If the answer to
either of these questions is “no,” consider
eliminating the meeting or excusing yourself from attending.
the meeting will be held, prepare a written agenda with times assigned
for each item, including a starting time and an ending time. Circulate
the agenda among those who will be attending. There is no sense in
holding a meeting by ambush; let people know in advance what is to be
Handle Paper. It’s easy
to get buried today in the blizzard of paperwork around us. The average
person receives around 150 communications each day by e-mail,
telephone, fax, regular mail, memos, circulars, etc. A lot of time is
wasted going through the same pile day after day and correcting
mistakes when things slip through the cracks.
to handle the paper once and be done with it. If it is something that
can be done in a minute or two, do it and be done. If it is not the
best use of your time, delegate it. If it is going to take some time to
complete, schedule ahead in your calendar on the day you think you
might get to it, then put it away.
Run a Time Log. If you want to
manage it, you have to measure it. A Time Log is a simple, yet
powerful, tool to create an overview of how your time is actually being
spent during the day.
make an ongoing record of your time as you spend it. Record the
activity, the time spent on it and a rating of A, B, C or D (as in the
Interruptions Log). Some examples of how your time may be spent: made
telephone calls, 35 minutes, A; answered e-mails, 48 minutes, B;
attended staff meeting, 55 minutes, C.
this log for a few days to get a good picture of how your time is being
spent, then analyze the information. Add up all the A, B, C and D time.
Most people discover that a lot of their time is being spent on items
that have little or no value. Take action to reduce the C and D items
to give you more time for the really important things in your life.
Note: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, a professional member of the National
Speakers Association, founded the Productivity Institute Time
Management Seminars. If you would like to receive a free copy of his
humorous article, "You Just Might Be a Workaholic," e-mail your request
for "might" to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, would you like to receive free Timely Time Management Tips on a
regular basis to increase your personal productivity and get more out
of every day? Sign up now for the free "TIME MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION
LIST." Just go to: www.topica.com/lists/timemanagement
and select "subscribe." Address: Dr. Donald W. Wetmore, professional
speaker, Productivity Institute Time Management Seminars, 60 Huntington
Street, P.O. Box 2126, Shelton, CT 06484; (800) 969-3773, (203)
929-9902, fax (203) 929-8151, e-mail email@example.com,