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1. Chapter title here 151 Quick Ideas toManage Your Time By Robert E. Dittmer, APR Franklin Lakes, NJ 1 2. 151 Quick Ideas to ... fill in blank Copyright © 2006 by…
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  • 1. Chapter title here 151 Quick Ideas toManage Your Time By Robert E. Dittmer, APR Franklin Lakes, NJ 1
  • 2. 151 Quick Ideas to ... fill in blank Copyright © 2006 by Robert E. Dittmer, APRAll rights reserved under the Pan-American and InternationalCopyright Conventions. This book may not be reproduced, in wholeor in part, in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical,including photocopying, recording, or by any information storageand retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, withoutwritten permission from the publisher, The Career Press. 151 QUICK IDEAS TO MANAGE YOUR TIME EDITED BY JODI BRANDON TYPESET BY GINA TALUCCI Cover design by The Visual Group Printed in the U.S.A. by Book-mart PressTo order this title, please call toll-free 1-800-CAREER-1 (NJ andCanada: 201-848-0310) to order using VISA or MasterCard, or forfurther information on books from Career Press. The Career Press, Inc., 3 Tice Road, PO Box 687, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 www.careerpress.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataDittmer, Robert E., 1950- 151 quick ideas to manage your time / by Bob Dittmer p. cm. ISBN-13: 978-1-56414-899-5 ISBN-10: 1-56414-899-8 1. Time management. I. Title. II. One hundred fifty-one quick ideas to manage your time. HD69.T54D52 2006 650.1’1--dc22 2006016820 2
  • 3. Chapter title here Dedication To all the people over the past 30-plus years who haveworked with me, shared with me, taught me, suffered with me,to cause me to learn these lessons and be able to share themwith others. And, to Jerry Wilson, CSP. Client, mentor, friend, partner. You led the way, I merely follow. 3
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  • 5. Chapter title here ContentsHow to Use This Book 11Introduction: This Book Can Save You Time! 13 1. Getting Started Is the Toughest Step 15 2. Consider a Time Study 16 3. Assess Your Problem Areas 17 4. Establish Clear Goals for Your Job 18 5. Write Down Your Goals and Objectives 20 6. Set Clear Goals for Time Use 21 7. Set Daily and Weekly Objectives 22 8. Start Your Day the Night Before 23 9. Don’t Procrastinate 24 10. Pareto’s Principle: 80–20 25 11. The ABCs of Prioritizing 26 12. The A in ABC 27 13. The B in ABC 28 14. The C in ABC 30 15. Write Down Tasks as You Receive Them 31 16. Set Deadlines for Assignments 32 17. Under-Commit and Over-Deliver 33 18. Keep Score 34 19. Make a To Do List 35 20. Use the To Do List! 36 5
  • 6. 151 Quick Ideas to ... fill in blank21. Share the To Do List 3822. Update the To Do List 3923. Organize Your Workspace: General 4024. Organize Your Workspace: The Desktop 4125. Organize Your Workspace: Paper Files 4326. Organize Your Workspace: Folders 4427. Organize Your Workspace: Electronic Files 4528. Organize Your Workspace: Contacts 4629. Organize Your Workspace: Cull Your Files 4730. Handle Your Mail Efficiently 4831. Use a Suspense File 4932. Keep Only One Planner/Scheduler 5033. What to Keep—and What Not to Keep 5134. What to Do With Draft Documents 5335. Handle Business Cards 5436. Know Your Best Working Hours 5537. Make Critical Appointments at Your Best Times 5638. Group Similar Tasks 5739. Put Up a Fence 5840. Block Contingency Time Every Day 5941. Scheduling: A 5-Step Process 6042. Scheduling: Step 1 6143. Scheduling: Step 2 6244. Scheduling: Step 3 6345. Scheduling: Step 4 6446. Scheduling: Step 5 6447. Use an Electronic Calendar 6548. Make the Electronic Calendar Work 6649. Attend Outside Meetings 6750. Minimize Interruptions: Set Office Hours 68 6
  • 7. Chapter title here51. The Second-Greatest Time-Killer 7052. Handle Voice Mail 7153. Your Voice-Mail Message 7254. Use Voice Mail as a Call Screener 7355. Use Caller ID Effectively 7556. Handle Inbound Phone Calls 7657. Handle Outbound Phone Calls 7758. Keep Written Records of Phone Calls 7859. Speaking Is Faster Than Writing Memos 7960. Handle Your Paper Mail 8061. Handle Your E-mail: When 8162. Handle Your E-mail: Brevity 8363. Handle Your E-mail: Files 8464. Handle Your E-mail: Fight Spam 8565. E-mail: Discourage the Jokers 8666. E-mail: Organize Your Folders 8767. E-mail: Write Clear and Direct Subject Lines 8868. Copy and Paste Are Two of Your Best Friends 8969. Handle Office Visits 9070. Handle Paper Files 9171. Magazines: Cull and Kill 9272. Use a “Reading File” 9373. Create a Contact List 9474. Use a PDA 9575. Make It Really Save Time— 97 Not Use More Time76. Keep Software Current 9877. Keep Your E-Desktop Clean 9978. Establish a Clean Filing System 10079. Make Certain Your Computer 101 Is Operating as Speed 7
  • 8. 151 Quick Ideas to ... fill in blank 80. Make Certain Your Internet Connection 102 Is at Speed 81. Virus Protection: Not an Option 103 82. More on PDAs 104 83. That Cell Phone! 105 84. Who Knows Your Cell Phone Number? 106 85. Cell Phone: Set to Stun 107 86. To BlueTooth or Not to BlueTooth 108 87. Is Text Messaging for You? 109 88. Get Your Own Printer! 110 89. Get Computer Training to Get More Efficient 111 90. The Third-Greatest Time-Killer 113 91. They Can’t be Avoided— 114 But They CAN Be Efficient! 92. Meeting Timing—When Is Best? 115 93. Put a Time Limit on Meetings 116 94. Have an Agenda for Meetings 117 95. Use the Agenda—Time the Elements 118 96. Distribute the Agenda in Advance 119 97. Train Yourself on Conducting Meetings 120 98. Train Participants and 121 Staff on Efficient Meetings 99. Attend Only the Meetings You Must 122100. The Greatest Time Killer 123101. Communicate Your Work Style 124102. Adjust to Your Boss 125103. Find a Mentor or Coach 127104. Control Interactions With Others 128105. The Geography of the Office 129106. Desk Placement 130107. Chair Placement 131 8
  • 9. Chapter title here108. Relationships to Windows 132109. Discourage “War Stories” 133110. Stand and Be Counted 135111. Learn to Say No 136112. Learn to Delegate: 137 Discover What Your Staff Can Handle113. Learn to Delegate: 138 Learn Where Others Can Handle Better114. Learn to Delegate: Train Your Staff to Handle 139115. Recognize That Procrastination Is a Habit— 140 Work to Break It116. Don’t Put It Off, Wimpy! 142117. If It’s on the To Do List, Do It 143118. Commit to the Job—or Delegate It 144119. “It’s Not My Job, Man!” 145120. Beat the Fear of the Unknown 146121. Overcome the Insecurity 147 of a Lack of Knowledge122. If You are Not Interested, Get Interested 148123. If You Don’t Like the Task, 149 Do It and It Will Go Away124. Schedule Travel Trips in Batches 150125. Use Travel Time to Learn 151126. Use Travel Time to Communicate 152127. Use Travel Time to Unwind 154128. Use Travel Time to Prepare 155129. Use Airplane Time to Catch Up 156130. Use Travel Time to Read 157131. Set Personal and Family Goals 158132. Make Certain You Leave Time 159 for Personal Goals 9
  • 10. 151 Quick Ideas to ... fill in blank 133. Schedule Down Time During the Day 160 134. Take Brief Breaks 161 135. Don’t Overwork Yourself 162 136. Schedule Medical and Dental Visits 163 Well in Advance 137. Schedule Medical and Dental 164 Visits for Early Morning 138. Grocery Trips: Buy Bulk 165 139. Organize the Closet 166 140. Don’t Make Special Trips—Combine Them 167 141. Organize and Systematize 169 Your Morning Procedure 142. Train the Family 170 143. Reward Yourself 171 144. Don’t Be a Perfectionist 172 145. Home Communication: 173 Are You Over-Connected? 146. TV Time Sucks Away From People Time 174 147. Control Children’s Access to TV 175 148. Control Children’s Access to the Internet 176 149. Don’t Check Your Portfolio Every Day 177 150. Schedule Vacations—and Take Them! 179 151. Try to Live Close to Work 180Index 183About the Author 189 10
  • 11. Chapter title here How to Use This Book Every quick idea in this book has been selected to directlyor indirectly help you gain and retain customers, create relation-ships, and build a successful business. Don’t try to implement all 151 ideas at once, because somewon’t be a good fit right now. Read through all 151 quick ideasand select only those that can really make a difference at themoment. Don’t worry, you’ll go back and review the othersperiodically. Label your ideas… Implement now. Review again in 30 days. Pass the idea along to _________. Involve your staff in selecting and implementing these ideas,and don’t forget to give credit for their success! Invest in addi-tional copies of this book and distribute them among your staff.Get everyone involved in selecting and recommending variousquick ideas. Revisit this book every 90 days. As your business changes,you will find new quick ideas that might suit you better nowthat competition is heating up. Remember, all the ideas in this book have been proven inbusinesses across the United States and around the world. Theyhave worked for others and will work for you! 11
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  • 13. Chapter title here Introduction: This Book Can Save You Time! Every quick idea in this book has been selected to directlyor indirectly help you save time and stress through better orga-nization, better time management, and better people management. Don’t try to implement all 151 ideas, because some won’tbe exactly right for you. Read through all 151 quick ideas andselect only those that can really make a big difference in yourlife. Label your ideas: Implement now. Review again in 30 days (or 60 or 90 days). Pass the idea along to __________________. Sometimes, involving your staff in selecting and implement-ing some of these ideas will not only help you, but help them aswell. Invest in some additional copies of this book and distrib-ute them among your staff as required reading. Get everyoneinvolved in selecting and recommending quick ideas. If every-one uses his or her time better, your life will also be improved. Revisit this book every few months. As your situationchanges and new work and tasks come your way, you will findquick ideas you bypassed today that will save you time tomorrow. Remember: All 151 ideas in this book have been proven bypeople similar to you all across the United States and aroundthe world. They work! But you must implement and followthrough with each one you choose. Do that, and you will be 13
  • 14. 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Timerewarded with more time and less stress in your life. And isn’tthat why you bought this book in the first place? 14
  • 15. 1 Getting Started Is the Toughest Step Just as people become addicted to drugs, food, cigarettes,and other such pastimes, people get addicted to the go-golifestyles we all seem to live these days. My neighbor withthree teenagers is constantly speaking proudly about her abilityto manage multiple schedules and tasks and get it all done.Unfortunately, in the next breath, she also complains about neverhaving enough time, about her day being totally fragmented tothe point she can never concentrate on anything fully, and aboutnever being able to spend “quality time” with her family. It wasn’t until recentlythat she came to understand,unfortunately the hard way, Assignmentthat she needed to bettercontrol her time schedule Decide to get startedinstead of allowing it to con- evaluating YOUR lifestyletrol her. You see, the stress before you too have tofinally got to her and she be- go through an event thecame severely ill—the result, way my neighbor did.according to the doctor, of Take a look at your dailybeing on the go too much. Of schedule and you’llcourse, not only did she discover not only howsuffer the illness (she has hectic it is, but alsorecovered nicely, thank places where you canyou), but so too did her save time and trouble.family suffer. And it did not need tohappen! 15
  • 16. 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Time She used this “event” to analyze her lifestyle and daily rou-tine and decided she needed to get a better handle on it. Shenow confesses to being a “reformed” time-a-holic (her words).But it was too dramatic of an event in her life to bring her tothis realization. Many of us cannot afford such a dramatic event.So just as an alcoholic does, it’s time to assess—or reassess—our priorities. Epilogue My neighbor used this illness as a warning and as a new beginning. She evaluated her lifestyle and time management and began anew managing her time better. She reports that her health is better and her time with her family has increased, and yet she still accomplishes everything that is important to her every day. 2 Consider a Time Study The first thing myneighbor did to change herlife was conduct a time Assignmentstudy. No, she did not call Consider this simple timeit that, but that is what she study technique. It’s not fancydid. Once she was able, and doesn’t require you toshe started a logbook of have any assets you don’tall of her daily activities. already have. But you willShe recorded everything learn a great deal from it.she did every day for twoweeks. All the details. 16
  • 17. Quick Ideas 2 to 3Everything she did, including when she went to the rest room,and who stopped by when, and the gory details of every meetingand appointment. She kept times on all of these so she could go back laterand find out what took what amount of time and, in manycases, because she kept excellent details, why it took thatmuch time. After two weeks, she had enough data. She spent a fewhours making notes on what she learned as she reviewed herlogbook. This was her analysis. Not scientific, no, but very use-ful. She learned a lot about how she spent her time. Epilogue There are companies who require their employees to keep time study records so the company as a whole can examine time usage and make adjustments to its systems and proce- dures. If it works for them, this simple mechanism can work for you. 3 Assess Your Problem Areas Now that you’ve conducted the time study, and are armedwith pages of information and notes, let’s see what you havelearned. Group your activities into logical groupings: adminis-trative duties, meetings, appointments, routine tasks, non-routine tasks, and so forth. Now see what you can learn. Are you surprised at some ofthe time? Does it seem excessive? Take a look at your notesfor those areas. What can you learn about what causes the use 17
  • 18. 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Time of time? Are there things Assignment you can control? Are there For every area you define areas you can make as a problem, start looking changes that might reduce for ways to fix the problem. the amount of time you Sections of this book will spend on that area? help. What you will find are places where some simple changes, many outlined inthis book, will make major differences in total time spent ontasks. You cannot fix anything until you know where to look.Now you do. Epilogue Everyone has places and activities that use more time than they should. We just don’t know where they are or what they are. This process leads to solutions. 4 Establish Clear Goals for Your Job As you look at your job, one of the things you need tofigure out is what you expect of that job in light of your career.As we all now know, we will not spend our lives in any one job.Probably not even in one company. Perhaps not even in onecareer field! At least, that’s what the Department of Laborstatistics are currently telling us. 18
  • 19. Quick Ideas 3 to 4 So what is it that you expect from this job? Set some goalsfor your own personal and professional growth. These goalsshould be made in light of your long-range aspirations. Thesegoals should logically help lead to the accomplishment of thoselong-range aspirations. If your long-range goal is to be a senior officer of publicrelations and communications in a major company, then whatdo you need to accomplish to get there? You need a degree in public relations. You need professional association membership. You need professional certification. You need a graduate degree. You will need progressive jobs in public relations in a number of sectors over a 20-year period with increasing responsibilities. You may need an industry specialization. With these goals in mind, what objectives should you setfor your current job? Look at that “progressive jobs” and“increasing responsibilities” stuff. Can you get that from thisjob? Then establish those as objectives. Do you need to startpreparing for professionalcertification? Then set anobjective and set aside Assignmenttime. Set career and job goals. You should establish Your own goals and objec-clear objectives that you tives, not your boss’s or yourwant to accomplish for company’s. Then work toevery job you will ever achieve those goals and ob-hold. Then work to accom- jectives within the context ofplish those objectives. Plan your current job.your job activities, and yourtime, accordingly. 19
  • 20. 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Time Epilogue If we don’t have goals and objectives, we simply wander through life aimlessly. And aimless is likely to lead somewhere we don’t want to end up. 5 Write Down Your Goals and Objectives It is not enough to just establish some career goals and jobobjectives. You need to write them down and refer to themroutinely. I went through this process many years ago at theurging of my then-boss. Ican’t thank him enough nowfor putting me through that Assignmentexercise. Write down your career But I wrote down those and life goals and the objec-goals and objectives in clear tives you have for your currentlanguage and have referred job. Keep them somewhereto them routinely ever since. you can refer to on a routine,No, they have not stayed perhaps monthly, basis. Keepexactly the same. Some of updating them as you movethe goals have been modi- from job to job.fied, and, of course, I cre-ated new objectives forevery job I ever held. 20
  • 21. Quick Ideas 5 to 6 But because I wrote them down, I have a clear record 25years later of how I came to be on the road I am on today.Writing them down also gave me a life document to refer towhen faced with major career and life decisions, such as whento change jobs, or when to consider certain activities at certaintimes. These written records I still have in the original notebook Ifirst used to create them. They are valuable life tools. Epilogue Written records allow you to do some decision-making about your jobs and your career—sometimes even your life. And they help you know what you want from every job and what kind of time you should spend on those personal objectives in each job. 6 Set Clear Goals for Time Use Armed with your life and career goals, and your job objec-tives, you can now begin to create some expectation of thetime you should spend on them. Look over your job objectivesand allocate time every week or month for achieving theseobjectives. This also helps you make decisions about which additionalduties you might take on and which activities you take on afterwork, or in addition to your work. 21
  • 22. 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Time For example, one of mygoals was to become in- Assignmentvolved in a professional Using your job objec-association of my peers. A tives for your current job,couple of jobs ago, I set a establish some time forjob objective to do just that. achieving those objectives. ItAnd I established time might be time during theevery month to be involved workday, or time after work,in that association. It helped or time from both areas. Butme orient my time both on establish how you plan to usethe job and after the job to your time to get these objec-my long-range career goals. tives accomplished. A very useful device. Epilogue Not only will this process help you achieve your life and career goals, but it will also help you orient yourself to the job and plan for the time you use on the job. 7 Set Daily and Weekly Objectives With these time allocations, establish some daily and weeklyobjectives that involve time working to achieve them. Yourweekly objectives might be quite modest, but, taken over weeksand months, they
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