from Your Inbox & Other Dangerous Thieves
Maybe I’ve been reading too many Clive Cussler books or watching too many episodes of N.C.I.S., but when I think of a saving time and how serious it is to get more time for you, I think of calling in the S.W.A.T. team. This is a serious rescue mission and as every minute passes and you’re not paying attention to where your time goes you’re risking your progress, productivity, peace of mind and success.
Don’t let time slip away to unsuspecting culprits. They’re sneaky and dangerous. And when you start to feel the effects of lost time and you’re unhappy, unsettled and unproductive, it’s time to try something different.
Here are 4 rescue missions to put into operation so you can save more time:
1.) Rescue your time from THINGS
Eliminate as many things as you can from your physical environment and free yourself from the burden and duties of being a “THING Manager” – when things get in your way – or “THING Detective” – when you can’t find your things… again.
Reduce or eliminate the things you keep in your office by making decisions about how useful they are to you. If they’re not useful, then hopefully these are personal items you love, like framed photos of friends or family, or a bit of memorabilia.
Put useful THINGS in the same place every time by choosing a location that is within easy reach, makes good sense, and makes it easy to put things away in the same place. Then you’ll trust it – as you’ve defined it – and a trusted system is invaluable.
The less you have, the less you have to manage and the more time you’ll have for other pursuits and priorities.
2.) Rescue your time from the INBOX
Are you afraid of “missing out” on something – or everything!? It’s easy to get sucked in to e-mail, sign up for everything, and collect e-mail “for later”
… when you have more time to read it.
What? “When you have more time?” Really? Don’t kid yourself.
Rescuing time from being devoured by your Inbox requires these steps:
1. Coming to grips with how many hours you have in a day
2. Balancing your available time (after meetings, scheduled calls, and lunch if you take one) with the responsibilities, tasks and priorities you’ve committed to
3. Comparing your revenue-generating/business-building opportunities with the value of what’s in your e-mail Inbox
4. Deciding what you need from your Inbox and what you don’t need.
Too many people fear deleting an email they haven’t read, but if you must open it, then skim it and look for key words that give you an idea of the content so you can decide right away whether or not that email deserves your precious time.
3.) Rescue your time from INDECISION
If you wrote down what you really wanted your office to look like and how you’d like it to function, I doubt you’d write, “I really want to be suffocated by my paper and closed in by my files and other things.” I doubt you want to feel crowded, burdened, stuck and frustrated.
Clutter is unmade decisions. If you look around your office, will you see lots of unmade or deferred decisions piled up, stacked or stashed in different (or strange) places?
Professionals can save an incredible amount of time just by making decisions faster, but when you’re unclear about where to put things and whether or not to keep them at all, then making decisions is much harder.
Visualize how you’d really like your office to look and your work day to flow. Commit to your vision and make it come to life, one step at a time. Put systems and routines in place to make it easier to make decisions about your papers, files and things right away. You’ll have an easier time of saying “no” to what you don’t want and “yes” to the things you do want, all according to your new vision and plan. Then you can save time by making those decisions fast – as soon as things show up, instead of after they’ve piled up.
4.) Rescue your time from PAPER To-Do Lists
Your Task List is electronic, right? No? Then you’re probably using legal pads, spiral pads, Post-It Notes and other paper to keep track of your to-dos, reminders, tasks and projects. If so, then you’re losing time, efficiency and perhaps opportunities.
Your electronic task list can represent your daily plan for every day, week or month into the future. It’s an essential part of any professional’s day.
A complete task list should encompass everything you need to do, have to do, want to do and dream of doing, all in one place. Not all in one list, but all in one system for easy access.
Your task list, if it’s complete and reliable, can save you loads of time. (Other bonuses include avoiding missed deadlines and opportunities too.) It can save you time because you can:
1. Capture reminders and tasks quickly and easily into one trusted system
2. Reprioritize instantly all day, every day
3. Track everything so you’ll never have to guess what you should be working on
4. Easily compare new tasks and emergencies with existing tasks and know right away where your priorities lie
5. Move swiftly through your day, hit your priorities and feel good about what you’ve accomplished
It’s time to save time. You’ll keep losing time again and again unless you bring in a more serious tactical approach to negotiating and saving your time. Because once it’s gone… it’s gone.
Don’t let another day go by before you put the steps above into action and then you can enjoy more progress and success, plus being the hero who rescued time for yourself and those who want to spend more time with you.