QuickTip: Manufacturing Time – A Two-Fer

Running from meeting to meeting and phone call to phone call is very stressful and it can be very unproductive. This is often an area I work with clients on and what follows are some ideas on how to make your day both less stressful and more productive. (Note, if you aren’t in a position that allows you to make these changes, consider forwarding this post on to someone who is!)

Leave Time Between Appointments

Imagine a wake of papers drifting to the floor behind you as you charge off to your next appointment (physical meeting, video conference, phone call, etc.). That’s what’s happening to all the thoughts and ideas you had in the apppointment you just left as you race to the next one.  They’re drifting into oblivion as you try to gain purchase on the upcoming subject matter. Worse, yet, you’re still thinking about those items as you enter the next meeting, resulting in loss of attention to the topic at hand. Two birds killed with one stone – with negative results.

Try inserting just a snippet of time between appointments – five to fifteen minutes. This will allow you to capture all those trailing thoughts into a  physical or electronic form, give you an opportunity to catch up on other projects in the works, and provide space for you to take a deep breath before moving forward. The net result is lowered stress, increased productivity, and a greater sense of command over your day.

Reduce Appointment Lengths By 25%

Work fills the time allotted. Not truism is more accurate in the business day. Meetings, conference calls, videocasts and the like can seem endless, sucking down valuable time that is better spent getting things done.

Try reducing meeting lengths by 25% and see what happens.  Reduce a 60-minute appointment to 45 minutes or take a 30-minute meeting down to 25. (Okay, that last is not exactly 25%, but you get the idea). You’ll find that people tend to focus more specifically on the topic de jure and cut through the side trips. If you don’t get everything done, just schedule another, shortened meeting!  The worse case scenario is that you run a few minutes long, but, thanks to the first suggestion above, you’ve got some leeway there.

Manufacturing Time Is Easy!

The two suggestions above are quite simple to implement. Other people may need some time to adjust to the new formats – shortened meeting lengths and spaces between appointments – but you can see that they go hand-in-hand. The net result of doing both is that you’ve actually used the same amount of time more effectively and efficiently. Consequently, you’re more productive, in greater command of your day, and feel less stress.

4 thoughts on “QuickTip: Manufacturing Time – A Two-Fer

  • Pingback: Sugerencias rápidas: el tiempo de fabricación - un dos-fer
  • Great suggestions – it’s easy to default to a time interval that we see in Outlook, but sometimes that’s more time than is required and as you point out, the meeting will become long enough to fill the time by default. I really like 15- and 45-minute meetings. Buffering time between appointments is also a great idea.

    I also like to add appointments for an uninterrupted chunk of work time each day, too. When things are especially crazed it can be helpful to turn off the phone and email. Even just an hour uninterrupted if that’s all you can manage can allow you to pack in what would be several hours of work at normal interrupted levels of productivity.

  • Thekla – Thanks so much for your feedback. One of the never ending challenges we face is how to carve out small bits of time during these hyperkinetic days in which we live! PHB

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