Time Management 101

Who couldn’t use a few more minutes?  The next couple of blogs will talk about giving you a little extra time in your day.

1. Be completely present at every meeting – one on one and in a group.  Any time I attend a meeting or speak to someone individually I make it a point to be completely present at the meeting or with the person.  This means that I turn off my cell phone, don’t check email, don’t look at my watch and put away all distractions.  I give the person and meeting my full and undivided attention.  You might be thinking – how does this save time?

Here’s what I’ve found – through many years of experimentation and practice.  When giving someone my full attention I pay much closer attention to what is being said.  I can quickly steer the speaker to get to the point or summarize what is being said, thereby moving the conversation along.  Another by-product of being fully present – and by using some active listening skills – nodding, agreeing, saying “I see” or “I understand” – I’ve discovered that the speaker will get to the point and not repeat themselves.  The speaker feels “heard” and moves on.

A little tip – if someone is repeating themselves a lot – they may not feel heard by you.  That’s why they keep repeating themselves.

I’ve also found this technique strengthens relationships among co-workers.  People feel respected when you give them your full attention.

2. Meetings – meetings can save you time and can also eat up your time.  Prior to going to any meeting I ask myself – Is it necessary for me to go to this meeting? – if it is not essential, don’t go.

If you are holding the meeting you’ll want to set and control the schedule.  If something comes up during the meeting that is not on the schedule, table it for the next time.  Set a time limit for people to talk or add their input – and stick to it.  Start and stop the meeting on time – As a CEO, I would ask anyone coming late for a meeting to leave.  I think this only happened once, people saw that I was serious.  If you’re going to apply this to your workplace, make sure you tell the participants your expectations, prior to sending them away.

Clarify the goal of the meeting prior to holding the meeting and distribute the agenda to the participants beforehand.  This will set the expectations.  If you reach your goal early, end the meeting.  I’ve seen people trapped in meetings just because it was supposed to end at a certain time.

Suggest a conference or simulcast call instead.  This will save travel time for people and can be very effective – perhaps even a Skype call.

By sticking to a schedule, having a tight agenda and respecting each person’s time, you’ll get the job done and gain the respect of your co-workers.

The next blog will have even more tips to find those extra minutes.  In the mean time, if you’ve got some tips to share, leave a comment below.

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