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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To get more things done in less time - Part 3

Time  flies, It is up to you to be the navigator - Robert Orben
Tempted to constantly check your e mail ! Don't do it.  Once or twice daily is usually enough. Check your e-mails, respond and get back on task. E-mails can be a habitual distraction. Do not go the mail box every 30 minutes. Work e-mail deliveries into your personal schedule and do notlet them control your day.

Prioritize your incoming e-mail by sorting the messages by subject or author so you can process related messages together. 

Keep an active address book to save e-mail addresses. Re-typing e-mail addresses for people who you frequently  send messages to is waste of your time.

Check your voice mails  twice a day ONLY. Write down  the messages in your organizer. Return all the calls before you check your voice mail again.

On your voice mail recording, clearly state when the person calling may expect a call back. This will take away  the caller's guess work and will eliminate them calling back two or three more times. 

Return calls at a specified time during the day.  Don't wait until the end of the day ( unless you really don't talk to the person). It is also best to return the calls during your least productive time of the day. You know, that time when you are a little sluggish - return some calls. It takes little creativity to return calls/answer questions.

Stand up when you are on the phone. A USC study discovered that the brain's information processing speed increases 5-20% while standing. Think you may look goofy standing and working? You would be in the company of Thomas Jefferson, Earnest Hemingway and Winston Churchill, all of whom stood while working.

Keep a record of who calls, how often, why? If several calls could be consolidated into one, negotiate with the caller to limit the number of calls.

When leaving your number on voice mail for someone to return your call, state your number slowly and say it twice. It is irritating to listen to a message and then have to repeat parts of it to retrieve the number to return the call.

Want to end a conversation? If the person tends to chatter on and on, politely say, "before we hang up I need to cover one last point...." and then cover your point and get off the phone. 

Be proactive in reducing, "voicemail tag". Answer three questions when you reach the voicemail of the you are calling - why you called, what you need, and when you are available for callbacks.

Unless you are talking to a friend or your co-worker, never talk about the weather on the phone. Who cares? You are assured a long answer when you ask about weather- definitely not a good investment of  your valuable time.

Knock out some of your minor tasks from your "to do" list, while you are holding on the phone. Don;t just sit there and listen to music or "commercials-on-hold".

Invest in a telephone headset for your office phone. It is amazing how much you can get done if both hands are free to take notes  or complete other tasks while you are talking.

Invest in a handle-free car phone and save "friend" callbacks until you are on the road.

Try out the latest gadgets. Keep looking for those that can help you gain a few minutes a day. 

If you have ever dropped loose change into a piggy bank, you 

were probably astonished to find how quickly those coins added 

up to "real money".  has "Think of time in the same way. Each 

of us has small "coins" of time we spend waiting each day: for 

the elevator, at the doctor's office, in the bank line. You will be

amazed to learn how much free time you can buy with this " 

small change of time" - Stephanie Winston

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