Mastering Time Management Can Double Or Triple Your Productivity
By Chet Holmes

The true secret to becoming a successful
business owner is repetition of basic core skills.

Skill is not created by constantly switching to new things. Skill is created by focusing
on a small number of things and doing them repeatedly.

Black belts in karate do not become black belts by practicing 4,000 different moves;
they become black belts by practicing 12 moves 4,000 times. The same is true of
sales skills, particularly time management.

Commit to these six steps...

Six proactive steps to time management can transform your day. They take five
minutes to do and can double the amount of results you get daily. The problem is
not whether or not these steps will work, because they will absolutely work. The
problem is whether or not you will fully commit to doing them, repeatedly.

The key to time management is commitment to the following six

Step One: Touch it Once

How often do you pick up something on your desk and say, “I have to take care of
this, but I can’t deal with it right now”?

If you do that a few times per day with a few different documents/projects/tasks,
by the end of the year, you will have spent an entire month touching and rereading
information without taking action. So, if you touch it, move it to the next step.

If you want to see how often you waste time, each time you pick up something, put
a red dot on it. After you have three red dots on a piece of paper, you begin to feel
pressure to do something and move on. If you touch it, take care of it.

Step Two: Make Lists, but Stick to the Six Most Important Things

People often have lists with 25 to as many as 40 items on them. They are proud that
their lists are so long and that they are so busy.

Further investigation quickly shows them that long lists are the perfect way to be
busy, but not productive. When you have a long list, your energy is focused more
on trimming the list than it is on being productive. Each day, pick the six items that
will produce the highest level of results, put them on your list, and finish all six
things by day’s end.

Step Three: Plan How Long You Will Spend on Each Item

You’ve started your day by making a list of the six most important things. That took
two or three minutes. Now take another minute to plan how long each item will
take or how long you will dedicate to the items that are ongoing.

When we conduct this workshop, the people with long lists usually find that they
can have an incredibly productive day with only six hours spent on their six key
items. Most people who use these steps find they get more important work done in
less time because their time is focused on the most productive tasks.

Step Four: Plan When

Now that you know how much time to dedicate to each task, you need to plan
when you will do them. In addition, you must build in time for the reactive mode.

For example, if you are a sales manager interrupted by frequent “got a minute”
meetings, plan a fixed time when you will accept those types of meetings.
Otherwise, unless it is an emergency, do not allow people to come to your desk and
ask if you’ve got a minute!

Scheduling time is the key to time management.

Step Five: Ask the Results

Few people are highly productive. People like to have items on a list, so they can
cross off the items. But that’s not enough. The things that produce the best results
are generally the most difficult. Thus, they get left off of the list or are scheduled at
the end of the day, causing them to get bumped to the next day…and the next...and
the next.

Schedule important tasks in the beginning of your day. Cold calling or trying to get
appointments with key prospects or clients are the things that produce the best
results. However, they often get pushed off by average salespeople. After you make
your list, ask yourself if the items on it are the ones that will produce the most

Step Six: Will it Hurt Me to Throw This Away?

Of all filed information, 80% is never referred to again.

Making The Training Stick...

Human behavior can only truly be affected in two ways: Repetition and direct
involvement. You can agree intellectually that these six steps will cause a
productivity increase, but until you practice them (direct involvement) and
continue to use them (repetition), your behavior will not change.

Common wisdom is that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. My experience is that
it takes years. But for now, if you can stick to this program for just 21 days, you will
be forever reminded of its power, and you will be more likely to use these
important steps.

About the author: Chet Holmes has worked with over 60 of the Fortune 500 companies as a
trainer, strategic consultant and motivation expert. He has identified and developed the 12
core competencies that are proven to provide the main structure of truly great companies and
he has developed more than fifty proprietary methods of implementation. With 23 years of
karate discipline behind him, Chet has developed ways that he can dramatically impact the
performance of a company by focusing intently on only the most essential elements that make a
business truly successful. For more information visit
How to Double Sales.
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