Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tip of the Day: How to save an hour

In today's economy, we're all being asked to do "more with less." But since there aren't ever going to be more hours in the day, you need to figure out a way to make those hours more effective.

Donna Rae Smith, founder and chairman of Bright Side, has five simple tips that will allow you to save an hour per day ... or seven hours per week, 30 hours per month, and 365 hours per year. That's a lot of time!!

1. The Chosen Few. Above and beyond setting priorities, Rae recommends starting by focusing on accomplishing those tasks to assure your future happens the way you want. She advises distinguishing tasks between the urgent and the important, and ranking them accordingly. "Obviously the urgent and important go to the top of the list," says Donna Rae. "Next, look at the important, but not urgent. These are tasks, while important, can be done bit by bit, little by little." Tasks that are neither important nor urgent go to the bottom of the list.

2. Death by Meeting. "Brief, regular meetings to update progress, make decisions and commit to next steps are more efficient and effective than grand, comprehensive gatherings," she stated.

Donna Rae added, "Unless they are urgent, save topics and decisions for the regular meetings instead of having additional, time-consuming 'side' meetings. Lastly, leave the technology at your desk. This means no cell phones or other technological assistants."

3. Thrice is nice. One way to free yourself of being tethered to e-mail is to restrict yourself to checking it only three times a day: in the morning, mid-day and near day's end. The time in between can be spent doing what you need to be doing.

4. Chunk it! Establish "chunks" of time where you are cut off and don't respond to others; where you remain totally focused on the task at hand. "This is a great way to complete those urgent and important tasks we discussed earlier," stated Donna Rae.

5. Go off peak. Do ordinary things at "off peak" times. For example, instead of eating lunch between noon and 1:00 p.m., go to lunch at 11:00 a.m. or at 1:30 p.m. First, the lines will be shorter and you'll be served more quickly, and during the relative peace while everyone else is at lunch, you'll be able to focus and get more done.

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