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 June 18, 1999

Time management takes some thought

Speaking of business

Q: While I own my own business, I feel much stress due to a lack of organization. I have gone through time-management workshops, and I utilize my day planner. But, with all the tools I have collected from the workshops and various books, I still do not have enough time in a day to get everything done. Any “new” ideas?

A: Here is a list of proven strategies:

On what task(s) should you spend your time?

Evaluate what task(s) you like and dislike. Then move your job toward doing things you enjoy. You will be more likely to accomplish more both efficiently and effectively if you enjoy your work.

What do you do well?

It is important to know what your talents and weaknesses are. You will be more productive if you focus on your strengths and hire others to cover your weaker areas. To determine your strengths and weaknesses, carry out a S.W.O.T. analysis — identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Eating patterns, rest and energy

You may find that your energy levels throughout the day are driven by your eating patterns. Having a good breakfast with plenty of carbohydrates will keep your brain supplied with sugars for the early part of the day. However, eating a large lunch seems to divert blood from your brain to digestion — you have probably felt the desire to go to sleep after a heavy meal.

You may also find that energy levels are dependent on whether you take breaks or not. If you work through the day with no breaks, you may find that you fade drastically during the end of the afternoon. Often, taking a lunch break will allow you to start the afternoon refreshed for quality work.

Use waiting time effectively

If you need to travel to meet with people who have a highly structured day, you may find that you spend a certain amount of time waiting. This is time that is often wasted. The following points can help you to use waiting time effectively:

n Arrive at the meeting site no more than five minutes early. This will give the impression that you have no time to waste.

n Try to leave arrival times approximate. This gives some margin of error should you be detained.

n While you are waiting, keep busy. You will get more work done, and it looks better.

Drop tasks that do not benefit you

Perform only tasks that move you toward reaching your work or personal goals. If you are carrying out tasks that are neither cost- nor goal-effective, it’s probably worth dropping them or delegating them.

Create extra hours — get up early!

If you get up one hour early for a year, you have effectively created approximately 50 additional days! You may find that you are tired for a few weeks, but in time your body will adjust. If necessary, go to bed a little earlier.

Avoid distractions

No matter how well you plan the use of your time and use it effectively, distractions will break the flow of your work. Therefore, you must plan for distractions. Some interruptions are necessary to achieve goals. These you must plan time for. Others can be put off until later. Develop a plan for handling these. For example, have a secretary protect your time by taking phone messages. Make sure you return the calls as soon as possible.

Get rid of unwanted jobs

You may find that you spend a lot of time doing jobs that are not core to what you are trying to achieve.

Remember that most people do not like doing tedious or difficult jobs — if they can shift them onto you, they will. If you are receptive or overly cooperative, then you may find that your time fills with irrelevant tasks. You may find that you are extremely busy, but consistently fail to do your own job.

Delegate work to other people

Delegation involves passing responsibility for completion of work to other people. Delegation is useful for the following reasons:

n Once people have learned how to work with you, they can take responsibility for jobs you do not have time to do.

n You can train people to look after routine tasks that are not cost-effective for you to carry out.

n Transfer work to people whose skills in a particular area are better than yours.

n Transfer of responsibility develops your staff, and can increase their enjoyment of their jobs.

The ideal position to reach as a manager is one where your staff completes the routine activities of your team. This leaves you time to plan, think and improve the efficiency of what you are doing.

Greeley resident Russell Disberger is a founding member of Tekquity Ventures LLC, a Louisville-based specialty venture capital firm investing in technology development and licensing. He can be reached at (970) 396-7009.

Speaking of business

Q: While I own my own business, I feel much stress due to a lack of organization. I have gone through time-management workshops, and I utilize my day planner. But, with all the tools I have collected from the workshops and various books, I still do not have enough time in a day to get everything done. Any “new” ideas?

A: Here is a list of proven strategies:

On what task(s) should you spend your time?

Evaluate what task(s) you like and dislike. Then move your job toward doing things you enjoy. You will be more likely to accomplish more both…

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