Too busy to work? – managing your time

Too busy to work? – managing your time – Brief Article

Robyn D. Clarke

Maximize your time with these strategies

Breakfast meeting at 8:30. Conference call at 10:45. Power lunch with new client at 12:30. Weekly report due at 3. Business cocktail reception in satellite office halfway across the country at 7:30. That leaves just enough time to squeeze in a few phone calls, answer some e-mails, and respond to a handful of internal queries. Your day is clearly scheduled to the hilt, but there’s no room for any of your actual day-to-day duties. It seems you’re always busy but never working. What’s the deal?

The problem could lie in the way you schedule your appointments. After all, there are only so many hours in a day, and you only have so much time in which to get everything done. So, how do you determine what gets tackled when?

“You cannot save time, but you can shave time from some of the things you must do,” says Elaine Biech, consulting expert and best-selling author of The Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond (Pfeiffer & Co., $39.95). Here, Biech shares some successful time-saving strategies:

* Wait without waste. Carry pre-stamped postcards–complete with preaddressed, adhesive-backed labels–and reading material in your briefcase. Whenever you are on a plane, stuck in a waiting room, or have an appointment canceled, you can keep in touch with clients and catch up on your business reading.

* Keep files at your fingertips. Keep all work-related information filed away neatly for easy access. Use different color folders to help you distinguish what’s what (blue for projects and red for client resources, for example).

* Don’t talk long. Phone calls disrupt concentration. If possible, only accept calls at specific times during your workday. When you return calls and the person is not there, leave a time when you can be reached: “I’ll be available from 10:00 a.m. to noon today,” for example.

* Pack your bags. Make business travel a breeze by keeping a travel bag stocked with basics–such as toothpaste, underclothes, and deodorant–at all times. When you return from a trip, immediately replenish anything used or emptied.

* Choose conferences wisely, Attend seminars, workshops, and the like selectively. You may be wasting valuable time and money if you attend too many similar ones. You won’t be learning anything new at them.

* Meet with a purpose. Hold meetings with clear beginning and ending times. Mornings are usually best for these get-togethers; everyone is fresh. Avoid meetings first thing on Monday morning or late in the afternoon on Friday. Make sure you have a set agenda to help everyone stay on track (see “Whipping Up a Great Meeting.” Powerplay, December 2000).

COPYRIGHT 2001 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group