Category Archives: Time Management

How You Can Lead More Attentive Meetings

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Have you ever sat in a meeting and played around on your phone the whole time? If you answered no then you’re probably lying. The reason why you were on your phone is probably because whomever was leading the meeting wasn’t able to keep your attention. So how can we lead more attentive meetings? While there’s no single solution there are definitely strategies that you can take to capture the attention of those in attendance.

Here’s how you can lead more attentive meetings at work, life, or anywhere.

Define a Purpose

When calling a meeting you need to define a clear and definite purpose. Typically when we call a meeting we feel we’re being proactive and productive. The problem is some individuals call meetings for that reason only. If you don’t have a clear defined purpose for the meeting it’s probably not even worth gathering. One strategy is to write it down on paper first. Once you’ve gathered your thoughts try to create a few action items from your topics. If there’s isn’t much to execute on and or you don’t think it was worth writing down then you should rethink the meeting altogether. The biggest issue with keeping attention is that you don’t have many chances. If your team associates your meetings a lack of purpose then you’ll lose their attention before they’ve arrived.

Respect Everyone’s Time

One of the best ways to lose focus and worst of all respect from your team is to be constantly late for meetings. When you call a meeting you need to be absolutely sure you are there at least 10 minutes early. Yes of course things come up and we are late from time to time. But the old “I’m sorry I’m late something came up” or “my last meeting ran over a few minutes late” can only be used so many times. If your meetings are constantly running late then that shows your team a bit about your time management skills. Another reason why you want to be early is because you should be the one kicking off the meeting. If you stumble into a meeting room with the team already chatting about various topics you’ll have a hard time gathering the focus back onto you.

Phones Where You Can See Them

No matter what someone says about their phone it will always serve as an immediate distraction if buzzed. If their phone is in their pocket and they receive a call or text it’s almost guaranteed that person will at least look at their phone. Even if they don’t answer it still serves as a distraction to not only them but the rest of the group as well. I suggest having every member in attendance silence their cell phone and put it in the middle of the table turned face down. This way you can ensure that everyone’s attention will remain on you and they won’t get distracted by calls, texts, or even worse social media notifications.

Define Rules

One of the golden rules of focus and productivity is organization. If you’re concise and organized most things will fall into place. As you send out meeting agenda’s or hold meetings with new teams or groups make sure your rules are clear and written down. A disciplined group is a focused one. As long as your rules are respectable and concise I’m sure your team will have no problem following them.

Final Thoughts

Leading meetings is tough. When half the group isn’t paying attention it’s really tough not to mention a bit demoralizing. That said you should follow the tips above so you can lead more attentive meetings and a more disciplined team!  
Originally published here.

Time Management Secrets from Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and 5 Other Highly Successful People

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Managing and maximizing your time is no easy task. However, who better to turn to than some of today’s most successful people for guidance. By taking a look at some of the tips and tricks that people like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have come up with, your one step closer to better time management and higher productivity. However, the time management concepts that some of the world’s highest achievers have created were based on their own schedules and needs. So taking ideas from some of these people is great for inspiration, yet your best bet might be figuring out your own strategies that work best for you and your time. Just take it from Amazon’s Bezos who has his very own meeting philosophy called the “two pizza rule,” which means he won’t attend any meeting that’s too big and that two pizzas can’t feed. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh came up with his own email management method called, “Yesterbox,” where he only responds to emails from the day before. To learn more about these quirky time-saving tricks, here are seven time management secrets from the world’s most successful people.

1. Zappos CEO’s “Yesterbox”

Today, email alone can feel like it’s sucking up most of the work day. And even after responding, deleting and archiving, the idea of “inbox zero” is still far-fetched. When Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh felt this way, he came up with a solution, which he coined “Yesterbox.” Yesterbox is Hsieh’s very own email management system, where instead of trying to tackle everything in his inbox at once, Hsieh only responds to his list of messages from the day before. Unless they are urgent, the rule of thumb is that Hsieh never responds to any of the actual day’s emails.

2. Richard Branson’s “social sweep”

After waking up at 5 a.m. and starting his day with some kitesurfing or tennis playing, Virgin Group billionaire Richard Branson finishes up his morning with a major “social sweep,” where he logs onto his Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts and catches up on news as well as addresses any messages and other activities. “Social media has opened up the world, and given the public the power to really have a say — it’s a wonderful thing,” Branson says. Another great perk of a social sweep, is you take care of it all at once, instead on constantly logging on and off of social media all day long, and becoming distracted.

3. Warren Buffett’s simple approach

Famous billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s approach to time management is as simple as it gets: say “no.” He’s not far off either, because letting yourself get overloaded with work by constantly saying “yes” to new projects and assignments will lead you straight to burnout. According to Entrepreneur, Buffett once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

4. Jeff Bezos’ “two pizza rule”

The richest man in the world doesn’t have time to waste in meetings. That’s why he has his own meeting philosophy to make sure he maximizes his time. Calling it the “two pizza rule,” Bezos refuses to go to meetings if they are too big. How does he measure this? If two pizzas can’t feed the amount of people that are supposed to go to a meeting, then it’s too big.

5. Basecamp CEO’s 32-hour workweek

Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, offers employees 32-hour workweeks during the summer. “You can get plenty of stuff done in 32 and 40 hours if you cut out all the stuff that’s taking up your time,” Fried explained to CNBC. However, other than summer, employees are required 40-hour workweeks during the rest of the year. Fried also shared to CNBC that his company does not require that any meeting be mandatory, so people can pick and choose the meetings they think they need to attend.

6. Microsoft executive’s laziness approach

Julia Larson-Green, Microsoft’s Chief Experience Officer, admits she’s lazy. In fact, Larson-Green has found a way to use laziness to her advantage. In an interview with Fast Company, Larson-Green explained, “Being lazy makes me more efficient, because I try to find ways that I can do the best work in the most minimal amount of time. I also know that I need pressure to perform, and procrastination is one of the levers for creating that pressure.”

7. Airbnb exec depends on Apple Notes

Airbnb’s Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer Belinda Johnson attributes Apple Notes to much of her productivity successes. In an article by Fast Company, Johnson explains how Apple Notes help her stay organized and on top of things: “I use it all day long. As I’m going through my email, I’m either taking care of things in the moment or making [an entry] in Apple Notes that I need to deal with it later. At the end of the day, I go through all my notes and make sure I’ve addressed everything.”  


Originally published here.

5 Surefire Tactics for Boosting Employee Productivity

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As a leader, it can be easy to let the morale of an office slip away. However, to get it back, it’s not as hard as you think. And if one thing’s for certain it’s that happy employees translate to a more productive work environment, and thus, a thriving business. The core of every business is its employees. That’s why, as a leader, it’s more important than ever to go the extra mile when it comes to boosting employee productivity. Of course, you can’t expect every employee to be at peak productivity every hour of the day, but there are things you can do to help them get there. From implementing incentive programs to organizing social outings, take the time to develop ways to motivate employees — you’ll thank yourself later.

To learn more, here are five surefire tactics for boosting employee productivity around the office.

1. Give regular feedback.

Feedback is critical to the success of a company — and that doesn’t just mean feedback to employees, but from them too. Developing a comfortable work environment that fosters open communication, honesty and two-way feedback will help make your entire company more effective and productive. Regularly giving feedback provides guidance, an opportunity to learn and makes people feel valued. When employees know they can also give feedback to their managers, this helps to develop a more cohesive team. In an earlier Gallup survey, 67 percent of employees whose managers focused on their strengths were fully engaged in their work, while only 31 percent of employees whose managers focused on their weaknesses said this. Of course, while not all feedback is good, be sure to balance the negatives with positives.

2. Organize social outings.

Work hard, play hard. And that applies to the office too. One of the best ways to boost employee morale and productivity is by spending some time outside of the office. Get to know your employees as individuals and not just employees. Organizing social outings is a great team-building tactic. This will also get your employees away from their desk and give them some time to recharge. Recreational sports, retreats and happy hours are only a few ideas to get your employees mingling and getting to know each other. According to an article published in Inc., “Work performance depends on recreational activities — or at least, can be boosted with it.”

3. Implement incentive programs.

Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest motivators for most employees is money. That’s why offering incentives with awards in the form of money typically boost employee performance by 22 percent, according to a large-scale study by the Incentive Research Foundation. Not only that, but these monetary incentives, on average, boost team performance by a whopping 44 percent. Of course, it depends on how you create and implement an incentive program. The study also found that longer-term programs outperformed shorter-term programs.

4. Offer flexible work options.

Flexible work options are not only a great way to boost employee productivity, but also job commitment and happiness. A recent study analyzed and compared employee well-being at a Fortune 500 company over a nine-month period where half of the employees were given flexible work options, while the other half kept their regular 9-to-5 office hours. In the end, employees with flex schedules were happier at work and less prone to burnout than their 9-to-5 counterparts. They also found employees with flexibility to be sick less often, achieve more and work longer hours.

5. Celebrate the small wins.

Everyone likes to be recognized for something positive they’ve done, whether it’s big or small. However, despite size, every success should be celebrated. In an article published on Harvard Business Review, researchers examined what motivates people and the answer was simple: progress. When employees know they are progressing at work in some way, even if it is just the slightest bit, they will in turn be happier, more motivated and continue to keep up the great performance. That’s why celebrating the small wins is an effective tactic to help employees feel like they are progressing. Which in turn will boost performance and productivity.
Originally published here.

Productive Things to do During Downtime

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Even the busiest workers have a noticeable amount of downtime. Yet, there are ways to still accomplish productive things in that downtime. Whether it’s been scheduled or it’s your body’s way of saying “slow down, take a break” downtime during your workday can often be used as an opportunity to tie up loose ends and be productive with low-effort tasks. Here are 5 productive things you can do that make you feel good whenever you find that there’s downtime in your schedule.

Exercise

Exercise has a ton of benefits which is probably why successful people make time to stay active. While I used to find it easy for me to get lost on YouTube to start binging Netflix during my downtime, I started breaking up my day to exercise during the early afternoon slump instead. Exercise will help you stay healthy and keep your mind sharp and motivated to crank out some more great projects during the remainder of the workday. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment either. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can go for a walk around the corner or do a few exercises before starting back up again.

Read

It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to reads two or more books per month. Take the time to read blogs, news sites, fiction, and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge. If you’re often on the go, you may want to try audiobooks or listen to podcasts for fun or to learn about things like personal development, personal finance, or entrepreneurship.

Network

Networking can be valuable when done correctly. It shouldn’t always be your main focus but it’s important to squeeze in time to attend networking events and reach out to other either online or in person. Downtime is the perfect time to do some networking, maintain current relationships or follow up with people you’ve reached out to previously.

Open and Respond to Emails

Checking emails throughout the day can be tempting, but it’s an easy way to waste time and energy. I check and respond to my most important emails when in the morning and toward the end of the workday. I save the rest for small moments of downtime when I just need to do something easy and catch up. Managing emails can definitely become overwhelming if you don’t take time to stay caught up throughout the day. However, this doesn’t mean you have to waste time by checking in every 10 minutes. Focus on what’s important throughout the day, then save the rest for downtime.

Reorganize Your Calendar

Unexpected downtime like a meeting cancellation can be a great time to look at your calendar to make sure you’re on track and even plan for the next day. Planning your days in advance is one of the best ways to stay organized, motivated, and get a lot done. Successful people don’t waste time wondering what they’re going to do and when they’re going to do it. They already have a plan scheduled out and ready to execute. If you are experiencing way too much downtime throughout the day, you may want to reorganize your calendar and make sure you’re working efficiently and making the best use of your time.
Originally published here.

How to Create A Time Budget (And Stick to It)

By | Maintenance, Time Management | No Comments
When most people hear the word “budget” they think of their finances. It makes sense because money is a resource that needs to be managed. However, your time is a resource too. In fact, I would argue your time is even more valuable because you can’t get it back. That’s why it’s important that you also create a time budget for your life.

What is the purpose of a time budget?

I like to think of a time budget as a guideline that helps you spend your time the way you want to spend it. Granted, sometimes there are things we don’t want to do – like go to the dentist or pay taxes. But, for everything else, it’s important that we find time for the things that matter to us. For most people that looks like relationships, health and their careers. The only way to do this is to manage our time wisely and with intention.

How do you create a time budget?

The first step is already done – which is to determine what matters to you in life. The next step is to figure out what each of these important things looks like. Remember, your time is a limited resource so it must be used wisely. Let’s start with career since that takes up a lot of our time each week. What does being intentional in your career look like? What tasks will actually move you forward with your goal? What tasks are a waste of time or cause you to move backward? When do you stop working each day. The last one is especially important because you have other areas of your life that matter to you as well. Chances are you didn’t go into business for yourself to work all the time, especially because many people crave work life balance. Once you determine when you work, you also need to determine when you do other things. For example, I go to a fitness class on Mondays and Thursdays. I also dedicate weekends to friends and family.

How do you stick to a time budget?

In order to stick to your time budget, you need to have certain things in place. Just like you use apps and boundaries for finances, you also need them for your time. Here are some things that will help you stick to your time budget:
  • A calendar application. Let’s be real, if something isn’t on your calendar it doesn’t actually exist. Furthermore, a calendar application can help you time block tasks and activities. It can also let others know when you’re not available.
  • Very strong boundaries. People will take advantage of your time if you let them. That’s why it’s up to you to have very strong boundaries. Don’t hand over control of meetings and learn how to say no. Otherwise, you give away too much of your most valuable resource.
time budget is just as important as a budget for your finances. Both resources need to be managed to the best of your ability for a balanced life. It’s up to you to determine how you want to spend your time and protect it.
Originally published here.

Productive Things to do During Downtime

By | Scheduling, Time Management | No Comments

Even the busiest workers have a noticeable amount of downtime. Yet, there are ways to still accomplish productive things in that downtime. Whether it’s been scheduled or it’s your body’s way of saying “slow down, take a break” downtime during your workday can often be used as an opportunity to tie up loose ends and be productive with low-effort tasks. Here are 5 productive things you can do that make you feel good whenever you find that there’s downtime in your schedule.

Exercise

Exercise has a ton of benefits which is probably why successful people make time to stay active. While I used to find it easy for me to get lost on YouTube to start binging Netflix during my downtime, I started breaking up my day to exercise during the early afternoon slump instead. Exercise will help you stay healthy and keep your mind sharp and motivated to crank out some more great projects during the remainder of the workday. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment either. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can go for a walk around the corner or do a few exercises before starting back up again.

Read

It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to reads two or more books per month. Take the time to read blogs, news sites, fiction, and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge. If you’re often on the go, you may want to try audiobooks or listen to podcasts for fun or to learn about things like personal development, personal finance, or entrepreneurship.

Network

Networking can be valuable when done correctly. It shouldn’t always be your main focus but it’s important to squeeze in time to attend networking events and reach out to other either online or in person. Downtime is the perfect time to do some networking, maintain current relationships or follow up with people you’ve reached out to previously.

Open and Respond to Emails

Checking emails throughout the day can be tempting, but it’s an easy way to waste time and energy. I check and respond to my most important emails when in the morning and toward the end of the workday. I save the rest for small moments of downtime when I just need to do something easy and catch up. Managing emails can definitely become overwhelming if you don’t take time to stay caught up throughout the day. However, this doesn’t mean you have to waste time by checking in every 10 minutes. Focus on what’s important throughout the day, then save the rest for downtime.

Reorganize Your Calendar

Unexpected downtime like a meeting cancellation can be a great time to look at your calendar to make sure you’re on track and even plan for the next day. Planning your days in advance is one of the best ways to stay organized, motivated, and get a lot done. Successful people don’t waste time wondering what they’re going to do and when they’re going to do it. They already have a plan scheduled out and ready to execute. If you are experiencing way too much downtime throughout the day, you may want to reorganize your calendar and make sure you’re working efficiently and making the best use of your time.

 

What productive tasks do you do during downtime?


Originally published here.

5 Ways You Can Communicate Effectively in a Business Meeting

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If you’re like most business professionals, the majority of your day is spent in meetings. Sometimes you can get a lot accomplished during this time. However, they are often ineffective. If you want to get more accomplished in your business meetings you need to communicate effectively. You need to communicate the purpose of the meeting and the actionable takeaways when it wraps up.

Here are five ways you can communicate effectively in business meetings.

Take the time to prepare.

Before delivering a speech, you always take the time to prepare what you’re going to say. The same thing applies to your business meetings. Before you even schedule the meeting, prepare what you’re going to say. The reason you should do this before the meeting is scheduled is because it forces you to find a clear value or purpose for the meeting. If you have trouble preparing useful content for the meeting, it’s maybe best to hold off or cancel it all together. Once you’ve prepared, gather your thoughts into key bullet points you can reference throughout the meeting.

Don’t talk over others.

If two people are talking at the same time, odds are neither one is being heard. As excitement (or tension) rises in the room, people tend to talk over each other. This is extremely unproductive. If you get interrupted, refrain from trying to battle the other person for the ears in the room. Let them finish their points, and make sure to address them afterwards. If they try to interrupt you again, respectfully tell them to let you finish before they respond.

Pay attention to body language.

Body language is a huge part of effective conversation. When you’re speaking, make sure you are making eye contact with others and that you are sitting in an upright position. When looking at someone in the eyes, it builds trust and makes you seem more sincere. Additionally, you should gauge the body language of your listeners as well. If they are looking off into the distance or slouched in their seats, odds are they aren’t picking up what you’re saying.

Always try to mix things up.

Business meetings, especially long ones, can get very dull very quickly. Sometimes, that’s just the nature of the content being discussed. When you sense things start to go dry, try to mix things up a bit. If you need to, you can take a break completely from what’s being discussed. Open up the floor to discussion and get everyone reengaged. If you’re diligent about keeping track of where you left off, these breaks won’t serve as a distraction.

Always summarize and repeat key points.

This is something you need to learn for any kind of communication. People often underestimate how well their points are received by who they’re talking to. To be honest, people are generally bad listeners. While you can’t make them “listen better” you can take it upon yourself to hammer home your key points. After you’ve delivered your message, you should always summarize and reiterate your key points. It will help both you, and the audience retain what’s been said. Before you head into your next business meeting, make sure you remember the five points listed above. It will help keep your business meetings organized and productive.
Originally published here.  

3 Common Time Wasters for Your Business

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I often coach business owners through the best ways to use their time. It’s too often that they come to me having an idea of what they should be doing, only to find out most of their tasks are time wasters. I understand why people are confused. They think that certain things like spending your time on social media lead to money in the bank. They also think their email will catch fire if they aren’t logged into it all the time. I get it because I get caught up in it too sometimes. However, there comes a time when we need to get rid of the time wasters in our businesses. This starts by determining one main thing: What actually leads to money in the bank? Everything else comes second. That being said, here are the most common time wasters in your business.

Social Media

This may sound strange coming from someone who uses social media marketing, but it’s a time suck. More specifically, social media channels are time wasters when you don’t know how they fit into a marketing plan. For example, spending your time on Facebook looking at memes is a waste of time. Posting on Instagram with no call to action is a waste of time. Posting random stuff that doesn’t drive traffic or build your email list? Also, a waste of time. On the other hand, if you know how to use social media as a part of your marketing funnel, then it’s worth spending some time on it. You may even want to consider outsourcing this important task to a marketing professional. Just because it can lead to money doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your time.

Meetings

Most meetings are time wasters. There, I said it. Let’s be honest, how many times have you sat in a meeting that could have been an email? Or how many times did a meeting run longer than it had to? How many times did a prospect waste your time with meetings that went nowhere? Probably several times. This is why I say to avoid meetings if you can. At the very least, avoid having meetings in-person since you have far less control over your time.

Email

Similar to meetings, emails are time wasters too. This is especially true if you have a busy inbox. Unfortunately, most people treat their inbox like a to-do list. When something pops up, they handle it. The problem is this takes time away from important tasks that can move your business forward. For example, you need to create a new service offering but your time is being spent on email correspondence. One way to fix this is to hire a virtual assistant who can handle email communication for you. They may not be able to handle everything, but they can at least sort through the unimportant stuff so you don’t have to.

Final Thoughts

The ironic thing about these common time wasters is people think they need them to make money. This is only half true. There’s a difference between efficiently using these things and wasting your time. Once you figure out the fine line, then it becomes easier to stick to the important stuff.


Originally published here.

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