10 Ways to Stop Wasting Time

March 1, 2006

Distractions can extend the amount of time you spend at work. Use these tips to increase your efficiency, become more productive, and get more from life.

1. Set goals. Write down specific objectives for the year — “I will sell X number of houses per month in order to sell Y houses this year” — and review them regularly.

2. Make a plan. Break your goals down into more manageable tasks and assign deadlines to each task.

3. Push through barriers. When your productivity is lagging, be solution-oriented. If you lack resources, talk with your broker or engage help from team members. If political issues stand in your way, insist on open communications. If work priorities are unclear, talk with your manager or team members.

4. Create a weekly plan. At the start of each week, review your goals and determine three or four actions that would significantly impact your business. Then plan meetings, appointments, and tasks accordingly. Prioritize associated tasks in order of importance.

5. Organize every day. Take 10 minutes every morning to focus on the most important goals, tasks, and appointments for the day. Write them down and prioritize them.

6. Simplify your work. Every month, put into practice one new step or system to simplify the way you do your work. Having systems for updating your database, sending prospect letters, handling tenant requests, and so on will save you time and alleviate stress and frustration.

7. Use an integrated, mobile planning system. Whether you use a paper planner, handheld device, or both, make sure your information sources are synched and with you at all times.

8. Review your progress. On a weekly basis, look back at how well you “worked your plan.” Figure out what’s not working and fix it.

9. Learn to say “no” courteously. When others come to you with problems that prevent you from finishing vital tasks, politely turn them away by arranging a meeting in the future or referring them to someone else who can help. Engage a manager who interrupts you in identifying which priorities you should tackle first.

10. Delegate and partner. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Hire a virtual assistant, ask your broker whether the staff receptionist can help with your mailing, or team up with another professional to share weekend responsibilities.

Source: FranklinCovey, Salt Lake City