No one has any more or less time than you have. The president of the United States has exactly the same number of hours in a day as the man on the street. We all have 1,440 minutes in a 24 hour day. How much of your time today was wasted? It’s important to identify time-wasters. Here are some typical ones:
- People dropping by your office to chat. (Learn to say no. After all, an office is a place of business.)
- Lingering at the water cooler or the coffee machine to exchange gossip. (Get your coffee and get back to your desk.)
- Writing lengthy letters, emails and memos when a phone call will do the job.
- Reading newspapers on the job, other than newspapers and magazines that have a direct bearing on your work.
- Taking personal phone calls and being distracted by your phone. If you’re not using it for business purposes, put it down!
- Being disorganized. Plan ahead for your day. Have what you need to do your job readily available.
- Offering long winded explanations. (Remember, being brief and to the point saves time.)
- Letting meetings run on and on. (Start on time and finish on time.)
- Putting things off until tomorrow. (Finish what you start and don’t go home before you’re finished. Tomorrow may be another day, but it’s today that counts.)
All of these time-wasters take a big bite out of your 1,440 minutes a day. I have four rules concerning time, which I call my Four Rules of Life:
- When I eat, I eat. I don’t allow mealtime to be disturbed by matters better handled during other times.
- When I sleep, I sleep. I love to sleep. Again, I don’t let my sleep hours be disturbed by non sleep activities.
- When I play, I play. I never mix work and play. I closed my car sales in my dealership office, not on a golf course.
- When I work, I work. During those work hours, which are a measure of business success, I don’t waste my time; and I don’t let others waste my time either.
By following these four rules, especially rule no. 4, I am in a better position to make every minute count.
Once you’ve spent your 1,440 minutes, it’s gone. You can’t spend it anymore. Think of yesterday as a canceled check; think of tomorrow as a promissory note—time you’ve got coming to you. If you give several tasks the same priority, your “first things first” approach becomes unglued. Worse you will lose whatever focus you had on your days work. Being out-of-focus, like a blurred snapshot simply weakens your ability to master your time. Establish priorities and go over your tasks. List what should be done at the beginning of the week and what can be saved safely until later. List what should be done at the beginning of the day and what can be handled at the end. Prioritizing helps assure that you put first things first. We all know the adage “A penny saved is a penny earned.” It can also be said that “A minute saved is a minute earned.” If you follow my simple techniques on time management you’ll know all you need to know about controlling your time!