in Just A Minute- The Key to Time Management- Part II we looked at the value of a minute, now we’ll look at how to get extra minutes. If you are strapped for time make all your minutes count.
1. Waiting time– When you are waiting in a Dr’s office use the time wisely: prepare a list, think about your schedule and how you’ll approach tasks or take something with you to read.
2. Clump tasks– Do similar tasks together this way you do not need to get set up multiple times. For example, if you need to send one urgent email and two not so urgent emails about a project, why not send it all at one time (even the not so urgent ones), while the project is fresh on your mind and you are sitting in front of the computer anyway.
3. Standardize Tasks– Create a standard procedure to deal with common business requirements. How do you deal with a potential prospect’s request for more information about your product or service? If you craft a personal letter each time you are wasting your time! Come up with a standard introductory letter, brocure, testimonial page etc enabling you to quickly respond to your client’s request.
4. Automate tasks– Don’t do the same task multiple times, create a system that will enable you to quickly get a project done and be more accurate. For example, some people think that by creating a standard letter that they send to each prospect and they just change the contact information on each copy that they are being efficient. Having standards, as mentioned above is certainly commendable, but they are wasting time and increasing the chances of errors.
Make your standard letter into a form letter (with blanks for all changing fields like name, address etc) and then create another document to keep the actual data that changes. This way you can do a mail merge and avoid the mistakes of manually editing the contact information on each letter. Further if you add the date to you data file (or contact program is even better) than you can see all the prospects you’ve contacted and see if it’s time to follow up- all in one document.
5. Eliminate tasks– Better than automating tasks- eliminate them. Don’t check your email every minute- check it less regularly. Setup a signature that attaches to ever email which has your contact information so you don’t have to retype it each time.
6. Don’t be perfect– There’s no reason to craft a long eloquent email each time you need to correspond to a client. Keep it short and simple for simple correspondenses.
There is an old joke where a Rabbi is explaining the power of god and says, “To God a million dollars is like a penny, and a minute is like a million years.” So a congregant prays, “God, give me a penny,” and God answers, “Give me a minute.”