Time – ration it more than money

May 11, 2011
Are these your three top time-wasters?
1. EMAIL. See also the post on Technology Life Skills.
Don’t check your email first-thing in the morning. the … problem is that you don’t realise checking email is a low priority activity, because you haven’t decided what the high priority activities are.
Do your best to write concise, actionable emails. “Tell me what I need to know, and what you need from me.”
Try “Priority Inbox” if you’re a Gmail user. Or, deal with all emails from one sender, once per day …
2. SOCIAL MEDIA
 Spend your energy on communicating with the people that matter. All social media interactions are not necessarily created equal. Just like we prioritize items on our to-do lists, we can (and should!) prioritize who we communicate with, and spend our time accordingly. Consider analyzing who you spend most of your time messaging with: Is it the friends, family, and colleagues who provide the most professional value and emotional reward? Or do you give your time and energy to anyone who demands your attention? Being open to new interactions is essential, but it must be weighed against the fact that we have limited time and energy.

3. MEETINGS

Always, always question the meeting. Before you schedule a meeting, recognize the enormous cost of pulling yourself and your team away from their regular workflow. Often, certain issues can be resolved more quickly with a quick face-to-face conversation, phone call, or IM session. However, if a meeting must be had, be sure to ask yourself exactly who needs to be there. Be ruthless, and imagine that you are guarding your colleagues’ time as preciously as you guard your own.
Don’t let your calendar app tell you how long your meeting should be.Once you’ve decided a meeting is required, be realistic but aggressive when you set the timing. As Scott Belsky has written elsewhere on 99%: “Most impromptu meetings that are called to quickly catch up on a project or discuss problem can happen in 10 minutes or less. However, when they are scheduled in formal calendar programs, they tend to be set in 30- or 60-minute increments. Why? Because it is the default calendar setting. Ideally, meetings should just have a start time and end as quickly as they can.”
Take an active role in leading the meeting. Much of the time wasted at meetings can be chalked up to a failure of leadership. If no one takes control to ensure that something is accomplished, it’s highly like that nothing will be accomplished. Since you’re setting the meeting, go ahead and take charge of it: State the objective of the meeting at the start, take notes if it’s necessary, keep people from wandering off-topic, and articulate the next steps at the end. It’s a lot of work, but it will save you from spending more time in meetings in the long run.

Posted in Blog by Douglas Fahlbusch