Time is a limited, nonrenewable resource; take control of yours

August 30, 2013

Nashville Business Journal

 

You can’t replace time, so make the most of what you have. The good news is we can all get a grip on time management. Here are some things that have worked for me:

Take charge of your calendar; don’t let others set your agenda.

Confirm times and agendas of meetings a day or two ahead.

Practice saying no. Ask for the objective of an appointment, and request a summary of the objectives before you say yes. Get tough — it’s your time.

Schedule personal time first. Block out vacation and important family events time at least six months ahead.

If you’re in charge of a meeting, take charge. Set and share the agenda, ask for feedback and establish times for each agenda topic. Then politely keep folks on task and on time.

If you’re not running the meeting, show up on time and politely challenge those who don’t. Request the agenda. Consider leaving at the scheduled ending time regardless of the status of the meeting. You may just set a new standard.

Show respect for other people’s time. That means being prompt and not tolerating tardiness from anyone on your team.

Set specific “think time” for yourself. Find a quiet spot where you can do some deep thinking about the long-term health of your business unit and your career.

At this point you may be saying this is all good advice, but my boss is always calling impromptu meetings. Don’t give up. Explain to your boss in a factual way how your sense of organization leads you to solid results. One discussion may not do it, but regular calm talks might just help.

Remember, time is valuable. Take charge to make the most of the time you have.

Joe Scarlett is the retired chairman and CEO of Tractor Supply Co. He can be reached at joe@joescarlett.com.

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