Vital Time Tactics

The intention of time management is to enhance the quality and balance of your life, not simply speed it up!  The following ten tips will help you increase your Vital Time.  By putting some of these recommendations into practice, it will free you to engage in Vital Time, which in turn allows you to express who you are and what you believe in.

Vital Time Tactic No.1 – Overcome procrastination

Often the hardest part of getting started is getting started.  Once you’re into the task, you’ve overcome the hardest hurdle.  Read more about overcoming procrastination here.

Vital Time Tactic No.2 – Organize your workspace

A messy, disorganized desk will weigh you down.  In fact, often your outer life will be a mirror image of your inner life.  The simple act of cleaning up your work area can make you feel more in control of your life and more optimistic.  You are also able to get more work done.

Vital Time Tactic No.3 – Handle reading material efficiently

To be effective in any business in today’s rapidly changing society, you must stay up to date with current events.  That is a lot of information that you essentially will need to read.  Consider getting the books you want to be read as audio and listen to it on your commute.  That can save you a lot of time, and you have the added benefit of avoiding the negativity that is on the radio these days.  I even download podcasts to a CD and listen to it while I drive.

Vital Time Tactic No.4 – Handle everything once and only once

Single-handling means that once you start a top-priority task, you stay with it until it’s 100 percent complete.  Don’t pick up the same piece of paper or even phone call twice!  Pick it up, swarm all over it, take care of it, then bring it to a close and go on to the next one.

Vital Time Tactic No.5 – Delegate

Without delegation, you end up with too many responsibilities and you will be unable to do what matters the most.  The first step is to know when to delegate.  The general rule of thumb is if someone else can do the job faster, better or more economically than you can, ask them to do it!  The next important step is to delegate to the best person for the job, no matter the cost.  The best people will make you successful and will cut down on the number of times you are interrupted, as they will be proficient at what they do.

Vital Time Tactic No.6 – Control your phone calls (and emails)

Control your phone and email inbox or it will control you!  If you are lucky enough to have an assistant, get them to screen your calls and get a specific call back time.  As for your inbox, I will speak further on managing emails, but for now, know that you don’t have to answer every single email and you shouldn’t leave the program open either.  For those of you fretting that you may miss an important email from a client, don’t stress about that and read Tactic No. 9.

Vital Time Tactic No.7 – Manage interruptions

Interruptions are usually people – people who want to refocus your attention on what you are doing now to something else.  Your time is valuable.  My personal favorite tactic, was whenever I was busy with an important task and someone wanted to interrupt me, I would hold up my hand, face them directly and ask them if their need was urgent.  I made them justify the interruption.  If it was not, I would politely but firmly say, “I am busy with an urgent task, could I please have 8 more minutes to complete it.  Then I am all yours.”  I found this extremely effective and even used it on my boss!

Vital Time Tactic No.8 – Batch similar tasks

Do similar things together.  Everything we do is subject to what is called the learning curve.  When we do a series of five to ten similar tasks, the learning curve reduces the amount of time needed to complete each item by 80 percent.  Once you batch similar tasks together, like answering emails or reviewing documents, you can add about an hour to your day.

Vital Time Tactic No.9 – Block out chunks of time

The more important your work becomes, the more important it is for you to develop blocks of time where you can work on serious projects without distractions.  Ideally, you want to avoid mixing creative tasks with functional or administrative tasks.  This is important when it comes to replying to emails and returning calls.  Blocking one hour twice a day to deal with these time wasters increases your productivity and ensures that you can then work distraction-free on your more important items.  Block out about 2 hours twice a day where you can work interruption free on your work.  Make those times a “no-interruption” period, where no one may interrupt unless it is a massive emergency

Vital Time Tactic No.10 – Run masterful meetings

I am not a big fan of meetings.  They waste so much time and often are excuses to procrastinate.  But they are, in my view, a necessary evil at times.  Lead the meeting effectively and above all else, make decisions on your item and task lists.  Coming out of a meeting without any clear decisions guarantee’s that another meeting will be needed to re-discuss those points.  Remember Tactic No. 4?  Handle everything only once!

By utilizing these ten tactics, you have now freed up a couple of hours of Vital Time.  Now, what to do with this extra time?  You could spend quality time with those you love.  Or, you could work on important business and career goals.  You could also simply rest, relax and rejuvenate.