Monday, February 9, 2009

The Three Corporate Time Traps

"Be wise in the use of time. The question in life is not "how much time do we have?” The question is "what shall we do with it?" - Anna Robertson Brown.

I always love to be on time, whether it's an appointment or a meeting. Recently a friend of mine asked me an interesting question, " Can we manage time? ". My answer was simple, " No, we can't manage time, but we can manage ourselves ". The 86,400 seconds in a day may sound like a lot, but they go fast. No matter how quickly time seems to fly for us, even the most skilled time manager's hours, minutes, and seconds tick by at exactly the same rate.

The questions is, Why do some people manage their time so effortlessly, while others are always behind? How can we stay on top of dead-lines when obstacles crop up right and left?

I believe, skillful management of our time is not superficial but fundamental. Instead of aimlessly allowing external events and pressures control us, it's time for us to make deliberate choices about our use of time.

Let me share an interesting topic today from the corporate perspective.

The Telephone, Computers & Internet were supposed to make life easier; instead, all of us are busier than ever. We conduct meetings at office for better planning & implementation of things but now a days we are always busy with meetings. I fear, we all got into three major corporate time traps - E-mail Distractions, Phone Interruptions & Poorly Run Meetings!

Can we avoid, E-mail distractions, Manage our Telephone calls & Meetings ? I am sure this can save us lot of time to do things we love at work & home. Here are some tips for creating a little more time in your life each day:

1) Avoiding E-mail Distractions

> Delete junk E-mails right away

> Don't read every E-mail right away. Read the ones which needs immediate action

> Designate a specific time of the day to read E-mails

> Respond to E-mails promptly

> Don't let E-mails accumulate & clutter

2) Managing Telephone Calls

> Plan your telephone strategy in advance

> Don't answer the telephone until you're ready to

> Return the telephone calls at a pre-designated time of the day

> Ask callers politely to get to the point

> Write out your talking points before you call

3) Managing Meetings

> Don't call a meeting unless you have a good idea of what you want to achieve

> Consider carefully who should be invited to the meeting

> Cancel the meeting if key decision makers can't be present

> Don't plan the agenda at the beginning of meeting; prepare & distribute it in advance so people arrive

focussed.

> Start the meetings on time

> Don't wait for latecomers to begin the meeting

> Do keep a track of time and ensure all items in the agenda are discussed

> Do end the meeting on time

" Time is the substance of our lives," writes Alexandra Stoddard in her book, Time Alive. She explains that, we don't create time in our lives but instead " create our lives in time." It goes with out saying, managing our time will positively affect our daily output, our career, financial goals, and, ultimately, our success.

Time to manage our time, sorry manage ourselves!

Have a great week ahead.

With best regards,

Shamim

3 comments:

Edgar Morris said...

Excellent.

How about the flip side? How to manage time when you have all the time in the world and nothing much to do, Parkinson's - or whatever - Law not withstanding?

What has guided me most, especially in the latter part of my pretty long life, is something which I heard in my younger days on the then Radio Ceylon. There was this RJ who used to greet us every morning Mon thru Sat with "This is your Happy-go-lucky-Greg". He was a treat to listen to. Every day he used to give us some gems of down-to-earth stuff, one of which was about time management (this is like about 55 years ago! Can you beat that!) What he said was "If you have nothing else to do, break stones - try breaking them well"

How time flies now!

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