Tips for Getting the Most Out of Every Day

“Where did the day go?”

If you find yourself asking this question a lot, says Vistage speaker Gene Griessman, Ph.D. , you’re not alone. “Individuals struggle daily with managing their career and family, while still trying to find time for themselves. The goal is to end each day in success. This can be accomplished by looking at how others create success in their lives and by looking at the one thing that ties it all together — time.”

Some of the traits he sees as most common among successful people are knowledge of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, competence, time-consciousness, a strong capacity to focus and learn and heightened perception that allows people to spot opportunities. In addition, successful individuals tend to be decisive, tenacious and driven to succeed.

Developing effective time management skills comes with practice. You and your staff can avoid some common pitfalls by becoming aware of these solutions:

1.    Absentmindedness


  • Designate a place for things you commonly misplace, such as keys, wallet, etc.
  • Don’t hide anything!
  • Write your name, address and phone number on valuables and offer a reward for their return, should you lose them.
  • Label files and folders carefully.
  • Be redundant — create two of anything that might destroy your life if it disappeared.
  • Use cues and reminders.

2.    Procrastination


  • Make the unpleasant phone call first and cross it off the list.
  • Get your engine going by tackling an easy task first.
  • Make verbal affirmations to trick your subconscious into believing you are not procrastinating.
  • Cut tasks into small, manageable pieces
  • Make a public commitment to do a task.
  • Develop your willpower.
  • Visualize the desired outcome.

3.    Disorganization


  • Don’t only rely on your brain to remember — write everything down.
  • Collect notes and information in one convenient place.
  • Use a portable list (e.g., notebook, Palm Pilot) you can take with you to write information down.
  • Use an electronic organizer.
  • Establish priorities — create a must-list that gives you the most return on your investment.

4.  Ineffective Delegation


  • Delegating badly is much worse than not delegating at all.
  • Try to match the individual with the task — do not delegate willy-nilly.
  • Assign low-risk projects to individuals who have not yet proven themselves capable of delegation.
  • Keep in mind that what may seem easy to you may seem difficult to someone else.
  • Inform why, not simply what.
  • Be prepared to let the person to whom you delegate put his/her own spin on the assignment. Make sure you have communicated your intentions clearly.
  • Ask for feedback and keep tabs on what you’ve delegated.
  • Give the task importance. If you’ve labeled it as an “easy” task, you may get back sloppy work.
  • Establish priority and a due date.
  • Provide the necessary resources.
  • Avoid reverse delegation — having the project returned to you by uttering the fatal words, “Let me look into it.”

Low Energy/Depression


  • Use affirmations, especially to develop your willpower (e.g., “I will myself to have a productive day”).
  • Experiment with your diet, cutting back on sweets and adding more whole grains and vegetables.
  • Use humor. Maintain a fun file of your favorite cartoons or jokes that you look at when you are down.
  • Get some sunlight. Take a few minutes in the afternoon for a walk outside.
  • Does your career match your temperament?
  • Develop a process for dealing with specific things that trouble you.
  • Talk about your feelings with a trusted friend.
  • Make yourself laugh or smile.

Experiment with using different solutions and find the one(s) that assist you in avoiding time pitfalls. Becoming aware of how you use time and identifying solutions to pitfalls will help you make the most out of everyday.

“Invest in time management skill building for yourself and your employees. Such training may identify the most common areas where time is wasted in your organization. It requires a small investment, but the returns are priceless,” concludes Griessman.

Gene Griessman , Ph.D. is owner of Griessman & Associates, a Marina Del Rey, California-based management firm. He is an internationally known author, professional speaker and consultant. His book, “The Achievement Factors,” received the Benjamin Franklin Award, and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” has been featured in Reader’s Digest and translated into several languages.

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