Time Power: Time Saving Techniques and How to Deal with the Six Biggest Time Wasters

03/03/2023by dang tin0

Time Saving Technique and How to Deal with the Six Biggest Time Wasters

‘‘Concentrate all your thoughts on the great desire in your life. This concentration must be continuous, unceasing every minute; every hour; every day; every week.’’

Time is the one indispensable ingredient of accomplishment. Everything you want to achieve requires time. The
only way you can get enough time to do the things that can really make a difference in your life is by conserving time that you would normally spend somewhere else. You are surrounded by people and circumstances that waste your time and undermine your effectiveness all day long. Only by practicing rigorous self discipline can you free yourself from these thieves of time.

The Seven Major Time Wasters

There are seven major time wasters in the world of work, based on hundreds of studies and opinion surveys. Your ability to deal with them effectively will largely determine how successful you are in your career.

1. Telephone Interruptions. Telephone interruptions lead the list. The telephone rings and breaks your train of thought, interrupts you, and distracts you from what you are doing. When you hang up the phone, you are often distracted and flnd it hard to get back to the work in front of you.

2. Unexpected Visitors. Unexpected or drop-in visitors can be extremely time-consuming. These are people from within your company or from the outside. They drop by your offlce, disrupting your work, breaking your train of thought, and im- pairing your effectiveness. Sometimes they talk endlessly about unimportant matters and keep you from your work.

3. Meetings. Meetings, both planned and unplanned, con- sume 40 percent or more of your time. They can be formal or ad hoc, with groups or one-on-one, in an offlce or in the hallways. Many meetings are unnecessary or largely a waste of time.

4. Fire Fighting and Emergencies. A major time consumer (and time waster) is flre flghting and handling emergencies and the inevitable crisis. Just when you get settled in to work on something important, something totally unexpected happens that takes you away from your main task, sometimes for hours or longer.

5. Procrastination. Procrastination is the thief of time. The tendency to procrastinate is universal for a variety of reasons that we will deal with in detail in Chapter 8.

6. Socializing and Idle Conversation. Socializing takes up an enormous amount of time. It has been estimated that as much as 75 percent of time at work is spent interacting with other people. Unfortunately, half of this time is spent in idle chatter that has nothing to do with the work. Socializing takes time away from getting the job done.

7. Indecision and Delay. Indecision costs more time than most people realize. It can generate unnecessary paperwork, correspondence, and tasks. Indecision wastes your time and that of others.

In this chapter, you will learn several proven techniques to deal with each of these time wasters, except for procrastination. This subject is so important that we will cover it in depth in Chapter 8.

A Quick Review

Let us take a moment to review the keys to effective time man- agement that we’ve covered so far in this book.
Changing the Way You Think

First, we talked about the psychology of time management. This requires that you make a flrm decision to become excellent at the way you use your time. Think of yourself continually as well organized. Visualize yourself as efflcient, effective, and highly productive.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

To perform at your best, you must set clear goals and objectives that are consistent with your highest aspirations and your innermost values and convictions. The more goals you set for yourself, the more likely it is that you will manage your time well, espe- cially when your goals are in harmony with your values.

The Law of Forced Efflciency says that the more work you take on, the more efflcient you will become in completing the most important parts of that work. You will be forced to be efflcient just to keep on top of your responsibilities.
This law also says that ‘‘There is never enough time for everything, but there is always enough time for the most important things.’’ The fact that you have a large number of tasks almost guarantees that you’ll become more and more efflcient.

Planning Out Your Work in Detail

You need detailed plans of action, organized by sequence and priority, for productive work. You will save ten minutes in execution for every minute that you invest in planning and organizing before you begin.

Setting Clear Priorities on Your Tasks

You must establish clear priorities and always work on your highest-value tasks. Apply the 80/20 rule to everything. Separate the urgent from the important. Always concentrate on the most valuable use of your time.

Working All the Time You Work

It is essential that you develop good work habits and learn to concentrate single-mindedly on one thing, the most important thing at any given time. Good work habits enable you to produce vastly more than the average person, and they are the key to great success in life.

Managing Multitask Jobs

You must think through and carefully plan large jobs or complex tasks that involve several people, using everything that you have learned so far. Think on paper, and develop the habit of planning and organizing every detail before you begin.

The Way You Spend Time Today

How do you use your time? According to time management spe- cialist Michael Fortino, over an average lifetime, you will spend seven years in the bathroom. You will spend six years eating. You will spend flve years waiting in lines. You will spend four years cleaning your house. You will spend three years in meetings. You will spend one year searching for things. You will spend eight months opening junk mail. You will spend six months sitting at red lights. You will spend 120 days brushing your teeth. And here’s the big surprise: You will spend four minutes per day con- versing with your spouse and thirty seconds per day conversing with your children.

Get Focused and Stay Focused

In order to change some of these ratios in a positive way, you will have to learn how to cut out the time wasters and save time in every area of your life. To save time at work, for instance, you must continually ask yourself questions such as the following:

Why am I on the payroll?
What have I been hired to accomplish?
What is my major goal or objective right now?
What am I supposed to do, or be doing, at this moment? What results have I been hired to achieve?
Is what I am doing right now contributing to the accomplish- ment of my most important goals and objectives?

The most important of these questions to continually ask yourself, from the time you start work to the time you flnish, is: ‘‘Why am I on the payroll? Is what I’m doing right now what I have been hired to do?’’ The greatest time saver of all is the word ‘‘No!’’ Make it a habit to say no to any demands on your time that do not move you toward your most important goals.

Seven Ways to Deal with Telephone Interruptions

Here are seven ideas to help you deal with the tyranny of telephone interruptions:

1. Use the telephone as a business tool. Get on and off the phone fast. Don’t socialize on the phone when you are working. Make your calls as efflcient as possible. When you were a teenager, the telephone became a social tool for you. It was your connection to your friends and members of the opposite sex. You became accustomed to spending a lot of time on the phone in idle conversation. As an adult, you still associate the phone with socializing, with idle chatter. It has become a habit. However, when you enter into the world of work, you have to break that habit and begin to view the telephone as a means of business communication. You must discipline yourself to use the telephone as a business tool during the hours from nine to flve.

2. Have your calls screened. Find out who is on the phone and what he wants before you answer. Overcome the natural curiosity that wells up in you when people you don’t know call you. Find out why they are calling before you take the phone call.

3. Have your calls held. Whenever possible, set aside periods of the day when you take no interruptions. Don’t become a slave to a ringing phone. One of the best tactics you can use is to actually disconnect your phone when you are working on something important. If it is important enough, whoever is calling you will call back again later.

4. Set clear callback times. When you call people and they are not there, leave a message and the time that you will be available to take the return phone call. When someone calls you and you can’t take the call, make sure that your secretary or recep- tionist gets a callback time. This is the time when you can get a hold of the caller so that you don’t play telephone tag back and forth.

5. Batch your calls. Use the learning curve. Make all of your telephone calls at once. Don’t spread them throughout the day. Sometimes you can accumulate your phone calls up to 11:00

A.M., then return them all between the hour of eleven and noon. Or you can accumulate them up to 3:30 P.M. and then return them all by 4:30 P.M.

6. Plan your calls in advance. Think about a business call as a meeting, and write out an outline or agenda for your tele- phone meeting or discussion. Don’t waste time by picking up the phone and calling, and then forgetting the reason you are calling and the things you wanted to discuss.

7. Take good notes. Take complete notes of telephone conversations. The power is on the side of the person with the best notes. Never answer a telephone without a pad of paper and a pen in your hand. Keep careful notes of the things that you agree to. Write down what the other person agrees to, including the numbers, times, dates, amounts, and so on that are discussed on the phone. These notes can be extremely important to you in the future.

Dealing with Drop-In Visitors

Here are flve ways to deal with the next of the major time wasters, drop-in visitors.

1. Create a quiet time for work. First, specify a quiet time during the day when you will concentrate on your work. During this time, allow no interruptions. Get yourself a DO NOT DISTURB sign from a store or a hotel and put it on your door. Make it clear that when that sign is out, you do not want to be disturbed for any reason by anyone, except in an emergency.

2. Stand up quickly. Deal with unwelcome visitors by standing up when they come into your offlce. Some years ago, I worked in a company with a manager who would go from offlce to offlce making conversation. He was one of the most boring talkers in the world. He was a nice fellow, but when he came in, you knew that if he sat down, he was going to be there for a half hour. I flnally learned how to handle his unwelcome visits. The instant he came in the door, I would immediately stand up and come around my desk as though I was just on my way out. I would say, ‘‘It’s nice to see you, but I am just leaving. I’ll walk out with you.’’ I would then walk him to the door and lead him back out into the hallway. Then, I would keep on going myself. I would go to the washroom or to some other offlce until he was gone, and only then would I go back to my desk. This saved me an enormous amount of time that the other executives in the company were unable to avoid losing.

3. Bring the discussion to a close. When the meeting has gone on long enough, say, ‘‘There’s one more thing before you go.’’ You then stand up and lead your visitor to the door. Finish off the conversation with anything you can think of, shake hands, and then go back to work. One variation of this technique is to say, ‘‘One more thing before you go; I want to show you something.’’ You then take the visitor out of the offlce and show him a plant, a book, a new piece of furniture, or anything that you can think of. Then, turn around and go back to work, leaving him there to carry on.

4. Arrange specific meeting times. To deal effectively with drop-in visitors, you can arrange speciflc times to meet that are convenient for both of you. Make appointments to get together with the people in your offlce. Make appointments with your staff, and let them know that, at certain times of the day, your door is open and you will be available.

5. Avoid wasting the time of others. Make every effort to avoid being a drop-in visitor on others. If you do drop in on someone else, always be polite enough to ask, ‘‘Is this a good time, or can we get together later?’’ Encourage others to extend the same courtesy to you by asking when you have time available. It is amazing how many people unconsciously waste the time of others and are unaware of it.

Saving Time in Meetings

Meetings are the third major time waster in the world of work. As much as 50 percent of working time is spent in meetings, either group meetings or one-on-one meetings. In the estimate of almost everyone, at least 50 percent of this time is wasted. This means that as much as 25 percent of all working time is lost in meetings of one kind or another.
However, meetings are not an evil. Meetings are a necessary business tool for exchanging information, solving problems, and reviewing progress. But they must be managed and they must be used effectively.

Determine the Cost of the Meeting 

Each meeting costs the hourly rate of the people attending, multiplied by the number of hours spent in the meeting. Meetings should therefore be treated as an actual dollar expenditure with an expected value or rate of return on investment.

Imagine that you have ten people in a meeting, and the average person is earning $20 per hour. Ten times twenty equals $200 per hour. This is the cost of that meeting. If you are going to spend $200 on something in your business, which is exactly what you are doing in this meeting, you should have a very good reason for it.

Think through in advance the justiflcation of spending this amount of money. Why are you bringing these people, at these hourly rates, together for this period of time?

Continually think of meetings as an investment with an expected rate of return. Treat them exactly as if you were spending the company’s money because, directly or indirectly, that is exactly what you are doing.

Seven Ways to Make Meetings More Efficient

Here are seven ways to increase the efflciency and improve the results of meeting time.

1. Is the meeting necessary? Many meetings turn out, in retrospect, to be unnecessary. There are other ways to achieve the same goal. Sometimes you can achieve it by circulating a memo. You can have a conference call. You can speak to people individually. You can even postpone it to another meeting or another time altogether. If a meeting is not necessary, avoid holding it whenever possible. If the meeting is necessary, then ask, ‘‘Is it necessary for me to attend this meeting?’’ If it is not necessary for you to attend, don’t go in the flrst place. If it is not necessary for someone else to attend a particular meeting, make sure that he knows he does not have to be there.

2. Write an agenda. If you have determined that the meeting is necessary, establish a clear purpose for the meeting, and write up an agenda. An excellent time management tool is for you to write a one-paragraph statement of purpose for the meeting. Start with this sentence: ‘‘We are having this meeting to achieve this speciflc goal.’’ Then, write out the objective of the meeting.

This is a tremendous discipline. Make out an agenda or a list of everything that has to be covered in the meeting. Next to each item, put the name of the person who is expected to address that particular issue. Distribute the agenda, if possible, at least twenty-four hours in advance so that each person knows what she will be expected to contribute. You want everyone to know what the objective of the meeting is and what will be discussed. This applies to one-on-one meetings with your boss, with your subordinates, with your customers, with your suppliers, and whoever else.

One of the most helpful techniques you can use in business is to draw up an agenda for each meeting with your boss. I learned this many years ago as a junior executive. Before I started using this technique, my boss and I would spend an hour talking around in circles with no clear beginning or end. Once we had an agenda to work from, we could cover more information with greater clarity in flfteen minutes than we used to cover in sixty minutes.

Sometimes I would type up the agenda before the meeting. On other occasions, I would just write it up by hand, photocopy it, give my boss a copy, keep a copy for myself, and then say, ‘‘These are the things I want to discuss with you.’’ We would then go down the list, item by item, and get resolution of each point. I would then be out of his offlce and back to work. My boss really appreciated this approach. As a result, he was always willing to see me because I took up so little of his time.

3. Start and stop on time. Set a schedule for the beginning of the meeting, and set a time for the end of the meeting. If the meeting is going to run from eight until nine, start it at eight o’clock sharp and end it at nine o’clock sharp. The worst type of meetings are the ones that start at a speciflc time but have no clearly determined ending time. Here is another rule: Don’t wait for the latecomer. Assume the latecomer is not coming at all and start at the designated time. It is unfair to punish the people who are on time by making them wait for the person who gets there late, if at all. Many companies establish the policy of locking the meeting room from the inside at the exact time the meeting is scheduled to start. The people who show up late are not allowed in. You can be sure that they don’t show up late the next time.

4. Cover important items first. When you draw up the agenda, apply the 80/20 rule. Organize the agenda so that the top 20 percent of items are the flrst items to be discussed. This way, if you run out of time, you will have covered the items that represent 80 percent of the value of the meeting before the time runs out.

5. Summarize each conclusion. When you discuss each item on your meeting agenda, summarize the discussion and get closure. Get agreement and completion on each item before you go on to the next one. Restate what has been decided upon and agreed to with each item before you proceed.

6. Assign specific responsibility. If you have made a deci- sion, assign responsibility for the speciflc actions agreed upon and set deadlines. Remember, discussion and agreement without an assignment of responsibility and a deadline for completion is merely a conversation. Be clear about who is going to do what and by when.

7. Keep notes and circulate minutes. A key to getting maximum effectiveness from meetings is to keep accurate notes and to circulate the minutes of the meeting within twenty-four hours, whenever possible. The person who keeps accurate minutes from a meeting that can be pulled out a week or a month later can resolve a lot of potential misunderstandings. Agendas prepared in advance, followed by meeting minutes prepared shortly afterward, ensure that everyone is clear about his agreed-upon responsibilities and deadlines.

Putting Out Fires

Another major time waster in work is called fire fighting, or deal- ing with the unexpected crisis. It is a major time consumer in personal life as well. One way to deal with these unexpected crises is to engage in what is called ‘‘crisis anticipation.’’ We talked about this previously in Chapter 6. Crisis anticipation requires that you look down the road into the future and ask, ‘‘What could possibly go wrong, and what would we do if it did?’’ More speciflcally, you should be asking, ‘‘What is the worst possible thing that could happen in the next three, six, nine, or
twelve months? What are the possible crises that could occur?’’

Plan for the Worst

One of the characteristics of great leaders throughout history is that they developed the ability to think ahead and determine all the things that could possibly go wrong. They would then plan for contingencies in advance. When something did go wrong, they were ready to move quickly. They had already thought it through.

Poor leaders, on the other hand, don’t take the time to think of all the things that could go wrong. They trust to luck. They then become overwhelmed by circumstances. Sometimes, the in ability to think through a possible crisis in advance can be fatal to a job or career.

Crises are normal, natural, and unavoidable in the history of any company or organization. But the recurrent crisis, the crisis that happens over and over again, is a sign of poor management and inefflcient organization. If you have the same crisis happen more than once, it is important that you stand back and take a close look at your systems. Why does a crisis keep occurring? You then take the steps necessary to ensure that it does not happen again.

Crisis Management Strategies

When an emergency or a crisis occurs, here are flve steps to follow:

1. Think before acting. Remember, action without thinking is the cause of every failure. Take a deep breath, calm down, and remain objective. Refuse to react or overact. Instead, just stop and think. Take the time to flnd out what happened. Be clear about the problem before you act.

2. Delegate responsibility. There is a rule that says, ‘‘If it is not necessary for you to decide, it is necessary for you not to decide.’’ If you can possibly delegate the responsibility for handling the crisis to someone else, by all means do so. Someone else might be much better qualifled to deal with the situation than you, or it may be someone else’s responsibility in the flrst place.

3. Write it down. Whatever the crisis, write it down on your list before you take action. When you write down a problem, it helps to keep your mind cool, calm, clear, and objective. Write down exactly what has happened before you do anything.

4. Get the facts. Don’t assume anything. The facts are perhaps the most important elements of all in a crisis. Ask questions such as:

What has occurred? When did it happen? Where did it happen? How did it happen? Why did it happen?

Who was involved?

Again, get the facts. Remember, the facts don’t lie. The more facts you gather, the more capable you will be of dealing with the problem when you take action.

5. Develop a policy. When you are dealing with a recurring crisis, develop a policy that is simple enough so that it can be implemented by ordinary people. When a crisis occurs for the flrst or second time, it may require tremendous intelligence, experience, and energy to deal with it effectively. But, if a crisis has a tendency to occur more than once, and you cannot flnd a way to eliminate the crisis in advance, you should by all means de- velop systems so that an average person can handle it in your absence.

Socializing Can Hurt Your Career

Another major time waster in the world of work is socializing. Too much socializing can sabotage your career if you become well known for it. Most people are time wasters and time consumers. They are working well below their capacity. So, they have lots of time to socialize and engage in idle chatter. Here are some ideas you can use to avoid getting trapped into excessive socializing.

Socialize at Appropriate Times

Arrange to do your socializing at coffee breaks, lunch, and after work. Whenever you flnd yourself being drawn into a nonworkrelated conversation with coworkers, say to yourself, ‘‘Back to work.’’ Break off the conversation by saying, ‘‘Well, I’ve got to get back to work,’’ and then do it. It is amazing how often the use of these words will cause other people to get back to work as well.

Always be asking yourself, ‘‘Is this what I’m being paid to do?’’ If my boss were standing here right now, would I be doing this? If my boss were sitting right in that chair, would I be carrying on this conversation in this way? If you wouldn’t do it if your boss were there, it is probably not what you have been hired to do.

You Are a Knowledge Worker

There is one exception with regard to socializing. It is that relation- ships with knowledge workers are unavoidably time-consuming. Some of the most valuable time you spend at work is talking through and working out problems and solutions to the challenges facing your business. But these conversations must be focused on results, not on the latest football game or sharing stories about flshing or summer holidays. Relationships, communications, and discussions with knowledge workers must be continually focused on the results that you and your work colleagues are trying to accomplish.

Socrates is reputed to have said, ‘‘We only learn something by [engaging in dialogue] about it.’’ In certain work environments, the time that you take to dialogue about and discuss the work is an essential part of developing clarity about exactly what is to be done before you begin the work itself.

Indecision and Poor Decision Making

A major time waster in work is indecision or poor decision mak- ing. Indecision and poor decision making can have enormous costs in terms of money and lost time. A basic rule with regard to decision making is that 80 percent of decisions should be made the flrst time they come up. Only 15 percent of decisions should be made later, and 5 percent of decisions shouldn’t be made at all.

Four Types of Decisions

There are four types of decisions that you will have to deal with on a regular basis in the course of your career.

1. Decisions Only You Can Make. This is the decision that no one else can make, and it is the decision that’s your responsibility to make. It is therefore unavoidable.

2. Decisions You Can Delegate. Some decisions can be made by someone else. One of the very best ways to develop other people to build knowledge, foresight, wisdom, and judgment in your subordinates, and in your children, for that matteris to allow them to make important decisions. Whenever you can delegate a decision to someone else, or whenever the potential negative consequences of poor decisions are small, by all means, let someone else make that decision.

3. Unaffordable Decisions. The third type of decision is the one you cannot afford to make. The negative consequences of this decision are too great if it turns out poorly. Some decisions, if they turn out wrong, can lead to the bankruptcy of a company. Some commitments of resources can be so serious that they become irretrievable. The worst possible outcome is too serious an outcome to accept. That is a decision that you cannot afford to make.

4. Unavoidable Decisions. The fourth type of decision is the one you cannot afford not to make. This is a decision to act on an opportunity where delay can be very expensive. The positive upside for you or the organization can be enormous. But remember, when it is not necessary to decide, it is necessary not to decide.

Making Better Decisions

Here are some key ideas that will help you become a better decision maker.

Delegate Decision Making

Delegate decision making whenever possible. Remember, once you have made a decision in some particular area, you almost invariably have to make a series of related decisions in that same area. Avoid making decisions if you possibly can. Delegate them to other people.

Set a Deadline for Decision Making

If you can’t make a decision immediately, set a deadline for the decision. For example, if someone comes to you needing an answer, and you can’t give an answer right away because you don’t have enough information, say, ‘‘I can’t give you an answer right now; but I will give you an answer by Thursday at noon.’’ Then, whatever happens, at noon on Thursday you make the decision, one way or the other.

Get the Facts Before Deciding

As I said earlier, get the facts. Get the real facts, not the assumed facts, or the apparent facts, or the hopeful facts. But get the real facts. If you collect enough accurate facts and information in any area, decision making becomes far easier and more effective. Most poor decisions are made because the person has acted without getting enough information. The very act of gathering information will greatly improve your decision when you flnally make it.

Dare to Go Forward

Decision making requires courage. This is because every decision involves a certain amount of uncertainty. With every deci- sion, there is the possibility of failure. But it is not possible for a person to advance in life unless he is willing to make decisions, with no guarantee of success. All successful leaders and managers are flrm decision makers. In fact, you cannot even imagine a successful person who is indecisive and wishy-washy.

Overcome the Fear of Failure

A study done not long ago, and reported in the American Man- agement Association magazine, compared managers who had been promoted regularly and managers who had not. The one quality the authors found among the managers who got pro- moted over the others was that they were decisive in their work and in dealing with problems. The managers who did not get promoted were unwilling to make decisions for fear of making a mistake.

They then took these two groups of managers and put them through a series of written tests where they were asked what they would do to solve a particular business problem. Both of the groups turned out to be equally accurate in their answers on written tests. They both demonstrated the same decision-making ability in a classroom setting.
The difference between those who were promoted, and those who were not, was that those who got promoted were willing to make decisions and act on their judgment. They were willing to make a mistake, if necessary, rather than to hesitate or delay. The others were so afraid of making a mistake that they did nothing. Even though they were equal in ability, those who were afraid of making decisions in the flrst place were not entrusted with positions of higher responsibility.

One of the most important ways to improve your decision making ability is to avoid perfectionism. Avoid the need to know every detail and to be absolutely correct before you make a decision and move ahead. An imperfect decision made immediately is usually superior to a perfect decision delayed indeflnitely.

Five More Ways to Save Time

Here are flve additional timesaving ideas that you can use in your personal life.

1. Shop all at once. When you go shopping, do it all at once. Don’t shop at one store one day, and another store on a different day. Go out and do all of your shopping on a single day in a single trip. By the way, the very best time to shop for groceries is Tuesday afternoon and evenings. Why? Store shelves are restocked on Monday after the weekend. By shopping on Tuesday, you can get in, get the greatest selection, and get out fast.

2. Bunch your errands. When you have several errands to do, bunch them and do them all at once, rather than doing one today, one tomorrow, and so on through the week.

3. Don’t waste the time of others. Ask yourself, ‘‘What do I do that wastes the time of others?’’ Wasting the time of other people is usually not deliberate. It comes from not thinking about how valuable their time is. We often waste the time of others through lack of consideration.

If you are a boss or manager with people reporting to you, avoid the tendency to waste the time of your staff by keeping them waiting or being late for meetings. The more respect you show for the time of your staff, the more valuable and important they will feel. The same applies in your personal life. Show the same respect in the same way with your family and friends.

Ask yourself, ‘‘How do I waste the time of my boss? My co- workers? My subordinates? My spouse? My children? And others?’’ And then make efforts to avoid doing it. If you are curious, go and ask people. Say, ‘‘What do I do that wastes your time? How could I change the way I use my time so that it would be more efflcient for you?’’ Don’t be surprised by what they tell you.

4. Be punctual. Only 2 percent of people are punctual all the time, and these people are recognized and respected by everyone. Punctuality is professional and courteous. Make a habit of being on time. Remember if you’re not early, you’re late. There is no such thing as being fashionably late. It is really just being inconsiderate and disorganized.

5. Move quickly. Develop a fast tempo. Pick up the pace. Remember, fast tempo is essential to success. Move quickly in cleaning up your house, putting things away, getting ready to go out—in all possible household tasks and responsibilities. The more things you do, and the faster you work to get them done, the more energy you have and the more you actually get done. The faster you work and the more you get done, the better you feel. Most successful people work at a higher tempo of activity than unsuccessful people. They don’t necessarily do different things, but they get more things done in a given time than the average person. They produce more in less time, and as a result, they get paid more and promoted faster. Fast tempo is essential to success.

The best advice is to always focus on saving time. Continually look for ways to save time by cutting down or eliminating the major time wasters from your life at work or home. Only then will you have enough time to work on the goals that are central to your success and happiness. Only then can you become an excellent time manager.

‘‘Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets.’’

Action Exercises

1. Resolve today to minimize and eliminate the time wasters in your life and work that take you away from doing the things that can be responsible for your greatest successes.

2. Plan every meeting before you hold it or attend it. When creating a meeting agenda, concentrate on the most important items, and always flnish with clear responsibilities and deadlines.

3. Don’t be a slave to a ringing telephone; have your calls screened. Prepare an agenda for every business call.

4. When you work, work all the time you work. Don’t get bogged down with idle socializing that contributes nothing to your results.

5. Make decisions quickly, whenever possible. Be prepared to accept feedback and self-correct. Any decision is usually better than no decision.

6. Deal with problems and crises as they occur; get the facts, analyze the information, and take action.

7. Pick up the pace. Move fast. Develop a sense of urgency. Keep your mind focused on results and on doing the most important things for which you have been hired.

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