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Time Management: A Fresh(er) Look at Some Classic Tips

Posted on November 2, 2009 by Suzanne

I came a cross an article in The Wholesaler about time management and thought that I would share some thoughts on a few of the points that Peter Schor listed in his article. First, here’s a link to the online version: The Wholesaler, page 32. Most of his points are pretty obvious, but some of them really stuck out to me.

The Never-ending Inbox

In the article he states “E-mailing — Block off times to process your e-mail. Twice per day should be sufficient. Avoid the temptation to check e-mail frequently.” In an eCommerce company I know the first thing I thought about this suggestion was “Pft, yeah right…twice a day my eye.” My email is ALWAYS open. Heck, I dedicate a screen to my email..., but I do see the value in this idea, especially if it is “fused” together with this suggestion: “Quickly process the paperwork that hits your in-box.” This works perfectly for me.  Schor recommends using “R.A.F.T” to help you file through you inbox in a timely fashion wherever it may be.  “R.A.F.T” is an acronym the author uses to file and process paperwork. R=Refer to another person.  A=Take Action. F=File it. T=Trash it. My “hybrid” suggestion, for eCommercers in a predominantly paperless environment is to quickly process emails that hit your inbox, and restrain yourself from checking your personal email to no more than twice a day.

Breaking Bad Habits

Another Point he makes, “Identify bad habits" — Make a list of bad habits that are stealing your time, and sabotaging and blocking your success. Then work on them one at a time to systematically eliminate them from your life. Remember, the way to eliminate a bad habit is to replace it with a better one.” My bad habit and worst enemy: Procrastination. It’s followed me all though college and still sometimes effects my daily work, though not on the same level as it affected my schoolwork. I’m sure there are other bad habits that I have, but I’m also 99% sure they stem from my ability to procrastinate like no other. Some ways that I have tried to overcome my procrastination in the past is to make a list of things that must get done in that given day, which Schor mentions earlier in his article.  It really does help to see everything that has to get done and it gives you a goal to work toward. I will also be using “RAFT” to further combat the never ending battle with my nemesis.

Just say No

And my personal favorite: “Say No” — We say “yes” to others because we want to please others. But when eventually we can’t continue, we let them down and feel guilty. Both parties suffer. Recognize that a genuine desire to please often prevents us from saying “no.” FINALLY! Someone said it.  I know that there are not enough fingers and toes in the world, ok that might be drastic… but there are definitely not enough in Gordian Project to count how many times I have said “yes” when I’m screaming “no”.  I don’t have a good solution on how to say no without the other person being upset, but I do have a reasonable recommendation (provided the person you are dealing with is "reasonable"). If you are confronted with this situation and a co-worker is asking you to do something that is in line with the company’s goals, add it to your list of priorities where it makes the most sense. If the request is out of line with the company’s goals, tell them no and explain your reasons.

Don’t forget: We will never get caught up, but understanding that alone can help reduce your stress and increase your productivity. It’s a weird thought, I know, but there is always tomorrow, and we all know that if it doesn’t get done today it will be there tomorrow. So why stress?


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