JUST A SNIPE HUNT?
Is your wasted time like a “snipe hunt?” Are you “burning daylight” without completing promised or required tasks? The hard truth is that people waste a lot of time, especially in their job. Certainly, time management has been written about in many articles, so I am giving you a different angle on the topic.
It’s aggravating for me to watch certain clients, salespeople, or friends dilly-dally, fritter away time, or procrastinate. It always costs them (or their employer) dearly and we just don’t have the luxury today of expensive time-wasting.
You’ve heard the saying “under promise and over perform” and yes, I’ve said it and even tried to follow that concept. Unfortunately, under promise / overperform is probably not the best approach and usually not necessary or valued.
The promise is essentially a contract, so when the contract is fulfilled, we don’t really expect to get a whole lot more beyond the basic “contract.” Further, people will probably start expecting that “above and beyond” level of service and so the bar continues to be raised ever higher – often much more than is realistic!
When the “promise” is something you are going to do for the client, it often becomes more an issue of time management.
Here are some simple and better ways to better manage your time so you really can perform what you promise:
- Set aside time to plan and schedule your day, week, or month
- Complete top priority tasks first
- Make goal-setting a key part of planning
- The level of priority for new assignments must be based on urgency
- Learn to just say NO to certain tasks that won’t achieve my goal
When you know where you’re going, you can then figure out what exactly needs to be done, and in what order. Without prioritizing, you can work very hard, but rarely will you achieve the desired results.
Another great way to achieve your goals is to practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing or e-mails just because they show up. Don’t immediately give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business.
Each week, like on Sunday night, review your tasks and projects, your notes and your calendar. Be aware that as deadlines approach, your weekly routine must adapt to them! Postpone tasks or routines that can be put off until your top priority project is complete. Being available and accessible is one thing that should be tightly controlled. If you don’t, you will be run ragged.
Learn to use LISTS and continually update and prioritize them:
- Your Schedule. This is for the entire year, day by day. And be sure to BLOCK OUT time for the unexpected.
- Things-to-Do List. This is a basic “Things-to-Do” list organized by month, week, and day, prioritized as A’s, B’s, and C’s.
- People-to-Contact List. The third list is a “People-to-Call” list, also prioritized alphabetically.
- Dialogue Planner. This is simply a page for each person you interact with a lot, where you jot down things you need to talk to them about as they occur to you in between meetings or conversations.
I wrote this article because of one particular friend for years has struggled with taking on more than he should, failing to prioritize and then not completing the top priority items first.
It causes extreme stress for him, and for all those around him. It also has caused doubt and even a level of distrust because they know he has repeatedly promised something he almost never delivers when he said he would. No one needs or wants that reputation.
Don’t be a brilliant and skilled person, with the easy potential to be considered a trusted advisor, and then blow it by not following through, or not keeping the commitment you made. Start perfecting your time management and simply do what you promise. Your promise is your pledge, your guarantee, your trusted word!
Is your wasted time like a “snipe hunt?”
Author: Dick Wagner, National Sales Coach and Consultant