Everyone is late from time to time (even you and me), often for a reason that can not be helped. But that’s not who we are going to discuss today. We are going to talk about people who are chronically late — people who do not leave enough time to get someplace on time. Often they often arrive late for lunch, an appointment or an important event like a job interview or a wedding.
If someone is consistently late, it can be a problem for friends and family who feel like victims. It can even damage the relationship. We all know how it feels to be sitting and waiting for a friend who is always late. “Sorry”, she mumbles when she arrives, “but I had to write an important email before I left and, oh, the traffic was really bad.” Maybe she thinks these excuses are acceptable but they get old quickly. It is tempting to give my friend an earlier time so she’ll actually arrive on time.
A far more serious problem is the effect being late has on relationships at work. Unfortunately, chronic latecomers have a poor reputation. Colleagues resent it when their peers show up for meetings after they have started. They do not feel as if they can trust their colleague. Far worse, it can eventually limit career advancement. It’s that serious.
According to Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again, most people don’t like being late but this behavior was often acquired a long time ago. Even when they try to be on time, it is extremely difficult to break lifelong habits.
What are some of the reasons that people are chronically late?
Interestingly, some people are not comfortable with the idea of being early. They do not know what to do with the “extra time” and are frustrated at not making “every minute count.” The thought of downtime with nothing to do is uncomfortable. The last thing they want to do is wait.
What is their idea of being on-time? In a perfect world, some latecomers aim to arrive exactly at the start time. People who tend not to be late view it quite differently. On-time for them is arriving 15 minutes early which eliminates the stress and gives them a chance to grab a cup of coffee, relax and even scout things.
Try these tips for being on time:
Follow these top ten email tips and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how productive you will become in handling email and how much time you’ll save. You’ll also discover that it is really possible to reduce (even empty) your inbox.
1. Do not do email first thing in the morning. Once you plan out your day, work on your most important task (MIT) for the first hour you are in the office while you are fresh and alert. Then, start email. (Note: it’s OK to glance through email first thing in the morning to make sure that you have not missed anything significant, such as an urgent email from your supervisor or a cancelled meeting.)
2. Schedule several blocks of uninterrupted email time – one mid-morning and a second in the afternoon. Use a timer to keep you focused and on track. Plan on spending 45 minutes – one hour reviewing email that needs to be handled right away. The rest can wait. When you are checking email, try and stay focused. That means not allowing internal and external distractions. Let phone calls go to voicemail and indicate that you are “busy” on your calendar. If you think of something that needs to be done, jot it down on a pad of paper and continue to read and answer email. Make the best use you can of the email time you’ve allotted yourself.
3. Move or drag email out of the inbox. Do not let it sit there.Commit to making a decision on each email. Delaying decisions creates havoc in your inbox. Your inbox is not a filing cabinet. View your email inbox as just that – an In Box — where email arrives that need processing. Imagine how cluttered and messy your kitchen counters might look like if you ignored incoming snail mail. You’d be lucky to find anything.
4. Decide if the email is action or reference. Start at the top of your inbox and look at each email in order. Do not skip around. If it is action, follow the 4Ds (#5). If it is reference and will be needed again, move it to personal documents, shared files or the personal folders in the inbox. Examples of reference folders are: inactive clients, proposals, past projects, and marketing materials.
5. Use the 4D’s of Decision Making. This valuable tool eliminates a lot of the guess work about how to handle individual emails and where to move them. It is a sure-fire way to reduce the email in your inbox.
6. Set up specific folders for action items, current projects and reference and move email to the appropriate folder. Examples of folders: To Do, To Call, Waiting For (or Pending), Read & Review, Upcoming Meetings/Events, Cases, Clients, Current Projects, Associations. My favorite personal folder is “Read Later”. The email in this folder can wait.
7. When sending an email:
8. Respond to the sender promptly even if you cannot give an answer right away. Let the sender know the email was received. Now the sender will not need to send a follow up note because you were proactive. That will be appreciated.
9. Use “Reply All” judiciously. Usually a reply to the sender is all that’s necessary. Not everyone needs to know you’re leaving for vacation and cannot attend the meeting.
10. Move important folders to the Cloud such as Dropbox and SugarSync. If anything happens to your hard drive, your information will be safe.
Often people with hundreds, or even thousands of emails, feel totally overwhelmed and have no idea where to start. We recommend that they set up a system that works using these tips as a guide and then manage the newest emails first. Ignore the older emails or move them into archives where you can deal with them later.
By using a few of these tips, your inbox will be manageable. Finding the email you need will be much easier. You’re the one in control now.
Have you ever wondered why, in spite of all the “time-saving” devices we have today — apps, technology tools, and “instant” everything — we are inundated with too much to do coupled with too little time to do it in?
A solution? Outsource jobs, tasks, or responsibilities that need to be done, but not necessarily by you. Hire extra hands to help with the lifting, freeing you up to attend to other things.
Sometimes outsourcing makes sense while other times it doesn’t. You might be surprised to find that you can outsource more than you realize.
Professional outsourcing options can include: Accounting, IT, PR and advertising, recruiting, web design or even a productivity specialist (ahem, ahem). How many of these areas do you currently outsource professionally?
What about personal outsourcing options? Baby sitter, dry cleaners pickup and delivery, house cleaning, meal preparation, personal trainer, yard work or seasonal plantings? These outsourcers can be a huge help with work/life balance!
Our guess is that you outsource at least one, if not a lot more of the areas mentioned. We’re sure you would agree that we often count on the skills from others to get our job done.
When should you outsource? Here are some considerations:
1) Missing Expertise – You could possibly learn the skill (and maybe you will at some point) but, at the moment, it is not one of your strong suits. For instance, we depend on a website guru.
2) Time – You may be better off focusing on areas that bring in revenue and leave value-added tasks to people who do it for their day job. For example, many people count on a virtual assistant to handle administrative work remotely.
3) Resources – You may be missing the hardware, software or equipment needed to perform the task. Have you seen the size of facilities for off-site physical document storage?
4) Financial Impact – Weigh the outsourcing cost against your hourly rate. If you don’t know your hourly rate, take your salary and divide by 1080 (52 weeks x 40 hours/week) to find out your hourly rate. This is a good thing to know anyway.
5) Prefer Doing It Yourself – Use your time wisely. As long as the task does not take a lot of time and you enjoy it, then it may be a task to handle on your own.
6) Internal Resources – Take advantage of in-house staff, if available. As an example, if you have in-house counsel, outside attorneys are less likely to be needed.
What else can you outsource? What would be the impact of more outsourcing on your ability to achieve goals, manage time, and potentially reduce your work hours? What’s holding you back?
If you have trouble finding good outsourcing options, ask your social media networks for recommendations. If you are a member of professional associations, you’d be surprised what outsourcing resources those can provide. If you or someone you know is a member of Business Networking International (BNI), then you have a huge source of vetted professionals to whom you can outsource.
To do it yourself or to get help is not always an obvious decision. At some point soon, we all face this. Please let us know what you outsource and how it has benefited you.
Let us know what new system you will try in 2013.
Putting Off An Important Task
How many times have you intended to do something very important but you just cannot get to it? Other, less important tasks get in your way. Before you know it, the time is gone and you haven’t completed a critical task.
Most of us contend with these task battles within ourselves daily. Which task wins — the less important one that feels urgent or the more important one that will take you one step closer to your goal? It is a dilemma but there are solutions. Here are a few tips:
The next time you have to choose between two tasks – one urgent and one important – try one of these tips.
Need time management help? Call Leslie or Barbara at It’s Time To Get Organized (404-250-9600) or email: info@ItsTimeToGetOrganized.com. We can help you get those important tasks done on a timely basis so you accomplish your goals.
I don’t know about you, but I dislike the piles of junk mail that show up in my mailbox unsolicited. I sift through the junk immediately keeping my eye out for important pieces of mail, hoping I do not overlook something important. Before even stepping into my house, I typically fling into the trash:
Would you like to reduce the pounds of junk mail that weigh you down? Would you like to open your mail box and find only first class mail?
Below are opt-out websites that will help make this happen.
1) www.directmail.com — there is no cost to take you off lists.
2) www.dmachoice.org — choose particular companies in the following four categories from which you still want to receive mail; eliminate the rest for five years or permanently.
3) www.OptOutPrescreen.com — the official consumer credit reporting industry website for consumers to opt in or opt out of credit or insurance offers for five years or permanently.
It will only take 15 minutes. Do it today. Go on the websites to minimize the amount of unwanted mail. You’ll love opening
Time is finite and a limited resource so we want to make good use of it. We can spend it as we choose. Over the next month and a half we are providing training to a financial management firm on how we can help them become more productive and use their time as productively as possible.
Think of time as an investment. We all want the best possible return on our investments — strong time management skills directly contribute to maximizing our time and accomplishing our goals.
Think of time as a rate of return. When we spend our time in areas where there is a high rate of return, we are managing it well. For example, if you are spending time with clients or taking a class that will improve your productivity skills, that’s a good ROI. If a skill took four hours and now takes 1 hour, that’s an excellent payout. Even if you are currently productive, there are always ways to improve it.
However, what if you are spending time on work that you can delegate or reading a publication that is interesting but perhaps not educational? These might be a low or negative rate of return.
Here’s a suggestion to amp up your productivity:
1) Revisit your activities, daily tasks and how you handle large projects to make sure that you are maximizing your time.
2) List what you need to do to change this situation including the sstart and due date, and the specific activity.
3) Then add it to your planner. The chances that you will implement the change are much greater if the task is written down on a specific date.
4) Assess the outcome. Is it making a difference in how you are using your time? If so, continue to improve upon this new habit. If not, evaluate what you did and how you can make it work.
It’s worth it, we promise.