Time Management Tips and Ideas

  • Schedule a week in advance – this way what is planned actually gets done, because nothing else gets in!
  • Plan in advance every week – to set up for success the following week
  • Lead with your schedule first – offer times based on what fits your schedule rather than just saying – “when is best?”
  • Close the door – controlling interruptions
  • Use a planner – electronic or paper; find the discipline
  • Control email – specify time to respond to emails – rather than letting it distract you all day long
  • Control the phone – answer calls and return messages on your terms, not just because it rings
  • Filter on values and value – eliminate what doesn’t honor your values and/or doesn’t lead you closer to your vision
  • Eat the frog – do the difficult/important first
  • Control your environment – eliminate negative input and minimize distractions
  • Be accountable – to someone you respect
  • Know yourself – don’t compare or try to be someone who has different strengths
  • Handle things once – doubling up creates redundancy and inefficiency
  • Say no – it doesn’t mean you don’t care!

Success is a Balance

J Paul Getty was, by most people’s standards, super financially successful; but relationally –well, married beyond 5 times by most people’s standards is not success.  Balance is the issue.  As we progress in our profession, how much balance do we have in our marriage, our family, and our relationships?  What about spiritual development, and physical health?  I learned (and continue re-learning) that success is a balance – of those four key pillars: spiritual, financial, physical, and relational.  By my standard, I am not a success if I achieve remarkable financial gain, at the expense of my family, my health, or my soul.   And I don’t believe one takes from the other – we can have financial success, while building a loving family, lasting friendships, good health, and spiritual growth.  Consider also that balance offers security – when one pillar falls, three others hold us up.  Today’s economic change and uncertainty has resulted in difficult financial setbacks for countless people – how much better off are those who have their faith and family to support and lead them back on track?  Take the necessary time and energy to identify and apply value filters that will eliminate growth in one area at the expense of another – thereby always growing in BALANCE.

PDCA - Plan, Do, Check, Adjust

If you are in sales, how effective is your activity? If you are in marketing, what kind of results are you getting and does it cover your break even? Is that advertisement really paying for itself and would the money and time investment be better leveraged elsewhere? Many of us don’t know the answers to these questions. Have you ever considered the value of testing and measuring to be sure that a plan is working? PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check and Adjust. Whether sales, marketing, human resources, strategic planning, or even exercise – take the proper time to plan the desired result, then execute (do) your strategy. Once a proper amount of time has passed for execution, check the progress - measure the results. Finally, it is time to make proper adjustments – execute better, scrap it, change it, adjust the goal –whatever it takes to be sure you’re always working toward an effective, measurable result. There you have it - PDCA.

Busy or Productive?

How many times do you get through the day or week feeling like you were incredibly busy – always working, trudging through the never-ending task list, retrieving and making calls, emails, texts, tweets and more – but not accomplishing anywhere near what you expected? So much of society seems to equate a busy person with a successful one. The ultimate question at the end of the day is whether or not you’ve moved closer to reaching your goal. Were you busy or productive? But knowing this is nebulous without clearly defined goals or benchmarks upon which progress can be measured. Even deeper is defining the goals in such a way that they are suitable benchmarks on the pathway to achieving your ultimate vision. A mentor once told me that efficiency is doing the job right; while effectiveness is doing the right job right. So, before you engage in another busy week, consider planning ahead to ensure what you will be doing is a productive part (“the right job”) in reaching your goal. If it isn’t, delegate or drop it; and if you feel you must do it, prioritize it to be done only after your most productive tasks have been completed. This way, whether busy or not, you will be productive. As Todd Duncan says in his book, High Trust Selling, “Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up”.

Sharpen Your Axe

A young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job.
“That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.” The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “You can start Monday.”
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by. Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.”
Startled, the young man replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.”
“Normally we do,” said the foreman. “But we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last place today.”
“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last and even have worked through my coffee breaks!”
The foreman, sensing the young man’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your axe?”
The young man replied, “No sir, I’ve been working too hard to take time for that!”

How do you sharpen your axe? Think of what and who can sharpen your axe – mentors, books, CD’s and DVD’s, your spouse, family, prayer, exercise.
When do you sharpen your axe? What routine is needed to get the most of your efforts? Build the habit of routine sharpening in order to make your efforts as effective as possible.