Time is the great equalizer for all of us. We all have 24 hours
in a day, 7 days a week, yielding 168 hours per week. Take out
56 hours for sleep (we do spend about a third of our week dead)
and we are down to 112 hours to achieve all the results we
desire. We cannot save time (ever have any time left over on a
Sunday night that you could lop over to the next week?), it can
only be spent. And there's only two ways to spend our time: we
can spend it wisely, or, not so wisely.
We can effectively increase the amount of time available to us
each week by working "smarter" rather than working "harder". In
my twenty years as a full-time Professional Speaker on the topic
of Time Management, I have noted five sure fire ways to make an
immediate impact on increasing our available time each week.
Engage an intern Most high schools and community colleges offer
intern programs for their students. The student is assigned to a
real-life organization for 10-20 hours per week. They are
typically unpaid but do earn academic credit and make great
contacts and the organization gets an "extra pair of hands". The
person who is assigned the intern can now delegate any number of
things to the intern to free up their time for more productive
matters. It's a "Win-Win" deal for both.
Run an Interruptions Log It would be great if we could plan our
day the night before and then make that plan happen as
scheduled. The real world is different. We have to deal with
interruptions. Interruptions are unanticipated events that come
to us via the telephone (any of the electronic stuff: beepers,
pagers, email, etc.) or in person. Many interruptions are
important and are what we may be paid to handle. However, many
interruptions have little or no value to our responsibilities.
Run an Interruptions Log for about a week. List every
interruption as it occurs and rate its value to you. A=Crucial,
B=Important, C=Little value, D= No value. After the week of
logging them in, review the list and take action to eliminate
the repetitive C and D interruptions and re-capture some wasted
Run a Crisis Management Log Crisis management for the most part
is when the deadline has snuck up upon you and robbed you of
choice, you have to respond and you are a slave to the clock.
Crisis management is generally poor time management because
you're rushing, the quality of your performance suffers, your
stress level is elevated, and, most important, you are often
having to go back and re-do what was done in the first place.
"If you want to manage it, measure it." Run a Crisis Management
Log for a week. After encountering every crisis, log it in on a
piece of paper. After a week of accumulating the data, go back
through every crisis that occurred and ask yourself, "Which one
of these could have been avoided?" and start to take corrective
steps to stop their reoccurrence and buy back some "smarter"
time for your weeks ahead.
Become a Speed Reader The average person reads about two hours
per day at a rate of about 200 words per minute. (We get more
information exposures in one day today than people in the year
1900 received in a lifetime.) Speed-reading is a simple skill
that is easy to learn and improves with consistent practice. The
average person can easily double their reading rate and thereby
cut their reading time in half or double the volume of reading
material they can go through in the same amount of time.
Do Daily Planning "A stitch in time saves 9." Every grandmother
knows this. Every minute of planning will save you nine minutes
in execution. Walt Whitman, the poet, said it best, "The most
powerful time is when we are alone, thinking about what we are
to do." Daily Planning helps us to focus on what is really
crucial and important in our day to come and permits us to
identify time wasters in advance to avoid them and use that time