Meeting the mark: time management tips

Managers, supervisors and many kinds of workers do the same types of work the company president does: plan, organize, integrate and motivate. How can you do all of that with so many demands on your time that add little, if anything, to your productivity? You have to devote chunks of time to meaningful tasks. You won't get enough done if you start, then stop for interruptions, and start over again.

Handling recurrent crises is a big time consumer. A recurrent crisis could actually be a failure to plan. Knowing the problem will arise again, you can take steps to prevent it or reduce it to a routine that others can handle.

Dealing with problems before they become serious could be illustrated by the boiled frog parable. That is: If you put a frog into hot water, it will jump out. If you put the frog into cold water and gradually heat it, the frog will adjust to the temperature until it's too late.

Your own "frog" could die if you see a problem gradually increasing and do nothing until it boils over. In a well-run organization, there are few crises. Most problems are anticipated and dealt with in advance.

Lack of organization is a big time waster, and that is especially true of meetings. Someone once said, "One either works or one meets, but cannot do both at the same time."

If you must call a meeting, have a planned agenda, keep the discussion on track; promote participation and group discussion. Then produce minutes promptly and follow up.

Be more effective in your job this week. Set aside uninterrupted time for significant tasks and have smart meetings. Get the right things done right the first time and increase productivity throughout our your office by leading with a good example.

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