Effective time management strategies start with guarding your time
If you’re like most business people, you’ve heard and read quite a bit about time management. A refresher is always useful, however. This one is brief but still helpful.
First, let’s take a look at some of the most egregious time wasters. The following information comes from “Time Traps: Proven Strategies For Swamped Salespeople,” by Todd Duncan. Notice how much time is wasted when you engage in these activities:
Reading personal emails at work: 30 mins/day = 115 hours/year
Personal calls to work phones: 30 mins/day = 115 hours/year
Answering every call: 60 mins/day = 230 hours/year
Customer calls to personal phone, email: 60 mins/day = 230 hours/year
Instant messages and email alerts: 15 mins/day = 57.5 hours/year
Eliminate these, and you free up 3 hours/day or 747.5 hours per year. That’s nearly 19 weeks!
What can you do? Well, looking at the list above, you can make some quick changes. Specifically, Todd recommends:
1. Don’t give out your personal contact information to customers. They’re likely to call you after hours. That’s your time.
2. Don’t give out work contact info to friends. They shouldn’t be contacting your during business hours.
3. Turn off instant message and email functions on your computer [and other devices – me].
4. Don’t answer the phone unless you’re expecting a call. [Turn off the ringer, too.]
5. Avoid checking personal email during work hours.
Yes, these time management tips require discipline to work. But they will pay dividends if you use them (and others such as those offered in the columns below). Take control of your time, and you will enjoy more free time for yourself and your family. Try it; you’ll see.
For related reading, see “Time management tip: Use an agenda” and “Be more disciplined with email.”
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