How do I get rid of my biggest time wasters?
Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers: 105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.
A busy professional asks a question regarding time management.
How do I get rid of my biggest time wasters?
My biggest time waster of the day is constantly checking my email and feeling like I have to get back to my clients right away. It can be distracting from more important tasks at hand when I keep pausing to deal with matters like contact emails. I think getting back to client’s messages is extremely important but should it be taking up all my time? What are other business owner’s time wasters and how are they being more productive around them?
Excellent question. There are several things that you can do immediately to remove your biggest time wasters. And there are a few things that you will want to the schedule time to do.
The other thing to realize is that your email isn’t your biggest time waster. Your biggest time waster is not recognizing what is wasting your time. Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” talks about the 4 Quadrants (Urgent & Important, Not Urgent & Important, Not Important & Urgent, Not Important & Not Important). Quadrant 2 (Not Urgent & Important) is the most effective quadrant and the one you want to spend the most time in. Time spent in Quadrant 2 reduces and even eliminates our fires (items in Quadrant 1 Urgent & Important).
The only place to find time for Quadrant 2 is to redirect them from Quadrant 3 and Quadrant 4.
Defining your goals
The first step is to identify your personal and professional goals. If you don’t have your individual mission and vision statements clearly articulated – you cannot define what is “important” and “urgent” for your career or your personal life. If you do not take the time to define this for yourself, than you are allowing someone else to design your life and your life purpose.
Once you have decided what your individual goals are, you can evaluate everything that crosses your path to see if this particular item is taking you closer to your goals or leading you away.
The majority of your email traffic should SKIP your Inbox. Create mail-folders and message-rules that will automatically filter your incoming messages to the proper folders. Then you can schedule time once or twice a week to review the other mail-folders.
1. As we mentioned above, one of the first things to do is to clearly define your individual personal and professional goals (i.e. vision and mission statements).
2. Check your email only 2 or 3 times a day. Publish this intention in your auto-responder with something like: "In order to serve you better, I will only be checking emails twice a day, at 8 am and 2 pm. If it’s urgent, please call 111-111-1111".
3. Instead of answering the same questions over and over again, create your FAQs and start posting them on your website, links in your signature, and use them as part of you auto-responders.
4. Just because something is happening how – doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “Important or Urgent”. It just means that is it happening “now”. Therefore, take advantage of your “voice mail” and “Do Not Disturb” features on your on-line chat/instant messaging and phone.
After implementing some of the above, you now have some time to do the following:
1. Creating your vision and mission statements, as well as your individual career and personal goals.
2. Deliberately evaluate everything that crosses your desk against these criteria. If the item will propel you forward, then schedule (I said SCHEDULE) the time for it. **Do not get distracted and start action on the item….SCHEDULE the time for it.
3. If the item does not match your goals or your job level, schedule time to train someone or delegate it to someone else.
4. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your manager, so that you can share your professional goals and progress with him/her.
Make external commitments
The bottom line is to develop a game plan to remove those time wasters. And then track against those goals to motivate continuous progress. Line up some mentors and advisors to incorporate some outside accountability. Make external commitments to create some forcing functions for increased success.
See what you think about those ideas.
I know your situation is different. If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info
I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally. It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ
With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.