So you want to get more out of ground support, but can't find the time to do it? The secret is to free your time and the rest will follow. Once you identify your own personal time wasters, you can eliminate them and move forward.
The top 10 time wasters are listed below. Use them as a guide to make time pay.
- Procrastination & Excuses
If you don't start, you can't finish. Reach your goals and objectives by actively working to accomplish them. Stop waiting until the last minute, putting things off and making things more than they are. Cut things down to size. Excuses, no matter how legitimate, are just that, excuses. Act or nothing happens.
- Running Errands & Commuting
Plan ahead. Arrange things on importance and need. Design your route. Make only one trip or as few as necessary. Avoid making duplicate and unnecessary trips. Combine tasks. Know what you need and who has it. Find a good time to get it or consider having it delivered. Give notice (call, fax, e-mail, register) ahead of time. Stop traveling in heavy traffic times like rush hour, even on the Internet. Make the time you spend traveling pay dividends.
Oops, you forgot, now you must hurry. And to make matters even worse, something else just came up...Relax. Stop trying to do everything at once. Realize things may take longer than initially expected. Avoid waiting until the last minute to get started. Do the little things regularly. Don't give things a chance to pile up. Schedule and plan ahead. List what must be done and the time it takes to do it. Make allowances for delays, the unexpected and surprises. Take time to do things right the first time. End the costly mistakes, oversights and stress of rushing.
- Computers, Gadgets & the Internet
Technology makes life and business easier, right? Are you using it wisely? Do you know how to use it and why you use it? Does it meet your needs, how? Do you make reentries and overlook existing data? You back up files in case of crashes, erasures and re-usage, right? Do you spend tons of time online? It's addictive. You get what you need and log off, right? How relevant are playing games and chatting? Bottom line: Make technology work for you by using it correctly. End problems before they begin.
- Telephone, E-mail & Mail
Be selective. Screen, filter and block incoming messages. Only give your address to those you want to contact you. "Opt-out" and never respond to "junk." Why call or write? Clearly define: your purpose, the person to contact, how to get what you need...Speed things up by preparing and using brief scripts, outlines and templates. Set a time to call and write. Take and return messages when it is convenient for you. Accomplish your objective and move on.
Why meet? What's covered: purpose, subject, scope? Schedule carefully (write it down): time, date, location, length, type, attendees. Address the issues and key points. Avoid fluff. Prepare everyone. Eliminate unnecessary meetings.
- Paperwork, Reports & Memos
Have a purpose for paperwork. Avoid duplications. Put all paperwork and records in a form easily understood. Store it where it can be quickly found and used. Be clear and concise in its creation. Get to the point. Test the relevance of it as it comes in and act accordingly. Regularly purge excess, but be careful!
- Planning & Decision Making
No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan. But planning can lead to "paralysis-by-analysis." Get the job done: Prioritize. Gather the facts. Weigh both sides. Combine tasks. Delegate. Embrace failure and learn from it. Plan your way to success. Make the decision to act!
- Entertainment, Television & Radio
Informed viewer or couch potato? Why tune in? Is it really important? If not, tape it or catch the rerun. Alternatives: Be a self-starter, do something productive, exercise, start a business, take up a new hobby, read a book, bond with loved ones, meditate, pray...When you can find no value, tune out.
- Just Say Yes
Don't bite off more than you can chew. Think about the consequences of delivering less than expected and missing deadlines. Be honest with people (and yourself) and they will respect you for it. Do NOT accept things that can't fit into your schedule, no matter how tempting! Know what you have to do, what is important to you and your limits (resources, time, ability, money). Prioritize on importance and need. Delegate. Don't be a "yes man." Just Say NO!
Your time is now your own. No more excuses. Do more in less time.