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Productivity Tips

The Three-Minute Hour

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Tip99The three-minute hour is fun, fast and effective. You’ll love it! Here’s how it works. Set aside an hour in your office to not be interrupted. Get together every loose end you can think of that you can do in three minutes or less, and do them.

Focus on such things as notes you’ve made on little pieces of paper, short calls where people are waiting for a quick answer. File loose papers, make dinner reservations and any other activities you can do in three minutes or less. If it can’t be done in three minutes or less, don’t do it.

At the end of the hour, your loose ends will be done and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment.

4 Ways Any Organization Can Increase Productivity

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Tip100Most would agree time is our most precious commodity. Why then do so many organizations pay so little attention to its use? Here are four things any organization can do to increase productivity:

  1. Heighten the value of time in the minds of all members by talking about it in meetings and all areas of communication.
  2. Teach time management skills to all members and require them to use a time management system.
  3. Hold all persons accountable by measuring what is accomplished with their time.
  4. Cut meeting time in half with better planning.

How does your organization measure up? Are you paying enough attention to its use?

Is Your Problem Your Boss?

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Tip98Over the years, I’ve had countless executives come up to me after workshops with the following question: “What do you do if your boss is your time management problem? He/she interrupts me all day long.” My answer is: “You don’t have a time management problem; you have a communication problem!” So, here’s the tip.  Read More > Read More

Take a Break From Time Management

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young business woman corporate executive relaxing sitting on a chair in the open air outdoors

Looking for answers? Too much structure and minute to minute intensity can actually shut down the creative portion of your brain from where answers come. Plant the question with which you are struggling in the back of your mind, and then forget it for a while. Lighten up and take some time off. Do something you really enjoy doing. Sleep on it.

As you relax, your subconscious will be freed up and keep working for you. The answer will come when you least expect it, sometimes at three in the morning. When it comes, write it down fast so it doesn’t slip away.

Transition Time is Seldom Managed and so Important

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Transition time is that time consumed as we move from one project to another, one meeting to another, or one activity to another. Basically, it’s the time we spend disengaging from one activity and preparing to engage another.

Most people aren’t aware of the time consumed in transitions. That’s why managers often back one meeting up against the next, leaving no time to disengage from the last and go to the next. Here are three tips on managing transition time.

  1. When scheduling meetings, be sure to schedule adequate transition time between them.
  2. Say no to unnecessary interruptions. Considering the transition time involved with each interruption, it can take two to three times as long to recover from an interruption as it does to experience it.
  3. Finally, develop an awareness of when you are in transition and not fully engaged or focused on anything.

Reduce overlong telephone calls 30%

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According to one long-distance carrier, the average unplanned telephone call lasts an average of ten minutes. A planned phone call lasts only seven minutes. So how long does a “carefully” planned phone call last? I believe telephone time can actually be cut in half when the call is carefully planned. Here’s how:

Before dialing:

  • Clarify the purpose of the call
  • Create a simple agenda
  • Establish a stop time

Then, make the call and stick with it. You save money. You save your time, and you save the other person’s time too! They will appreciate it and be impressed with your professionalism.

80% of time management problems are self-imposed

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Selfimpossed-interruptions

Many feel that eighty percent of their time management problems come from others when, in reality, eighty percent are self-imposed.

There are at least twenty self-imposed habits that cannibalize time. Here are four examples: unwilling to say no, attempting too much, procrastination, and insufficient planning. Do you own any of these?

The good news is we can control self-imposed time wasters with practice and discipline. Remember what we were told as children: “When we point our finger at somebody else, there are four pointing back at us.”

Control the four time wasters mentioned above and other self imposed problems, and you’ll be an incredible time manager. Then other people won’t be your problem!

Use a talk file to avoid interrupting others – Tip

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One of the best time management tips I ever learned was the use of a “talk file.” If you communicate with a number of people on an on-going basis, you could label an index tab in your planning tool “talk file.” Then put a sheet of paper in that section for each person with whom you communicate.

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Email jail, the dirty little secret

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EmailJailEmail, like the telephone, is a business tool that facilitates communication. Also, like the telephone, it can be abused and often becomes a time-waster. This occurs when this wonderful technology is used for excessive “chit-chat” on company time. The covert nature of email permits us to do this while appearing to be engaged in work. It’s easy to sit in a cubicle and visit with the outside world all day long. When this becomes a habit, we’ve put ourselves in email jail.

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