Volume 48, Issue 12- December 2013

ShopSavvy

Tick-Tock What Would You Do With An Extra Hour Today?
By Paul Bieber

So, I am writing this article on the day we switched the clocks back from daylight savings time, and I found myself with an extra hour in my day. Wow, think of all the things I could do with an extra hour. Sleep-in; watch the replay of the Red Sox winning the World Series; call Aunt Gladys to whom I haven’t spoken in two years; do some extra work in my home office. But, since I spent an hour thinking of the things I could do, I didn’t gain anything.

What if you had an extra hour every day at your job? What would you do? But wait … from where will this hour come? Here are some time-saving tips that I use to help me through my day and gain that precious extra time.

Where to Begin
First thing each day, or maybe at home the night before, make a to-do list of what you need and what you want done for the day. Put a star next to the ones that absolutely-positively need to be done. Put a dot next to the ones that can be delegated and a circle by the ones that are just not that important. Do the delegating, then start the absolutely-positively ones that you have to work on yourself.

Finish one task and then go to the next. Is it better to work on three items at once? Not on your life. All you get is three unfinished things. One item checked off and done is better than three items at 90 percent, none of which will please your customers. What doesn’t get finished today goes on tomorrow’s list.

You don’t have to be a perfectionist to finish a task. Get it done. I just finished writing a book, and my editor gave me a drop-dead date for printing. Any further changes will go in the second edition. And yes, I saw things to change the day after we approved the final proof copy, but that will always happen. Now this doesn’t apply to safety in the shop or job-site, or the installation of glass ometal, but rather running the business. Keep this in mind.

Time Wasters
Now, we have picked up 20 minutes a day already. The next biggest time-waster is email. Read it once, send the answer and be done. Don’t go back to your inbox seven times before you write an answer. In most inboxes, maybe one-in-20 emails needs real thought. The same with correspondence. Jot your answer on the original note and return it to the sender. This is good for 15 minutes a day.

Plan your phone time. Give yourself an hour per day when you take no calls other than true emergencies. Every time you take a call, even if only for 30 seconds, it takes you two or three minutes to get back into what you were doing. Add 10 minutes if you can enforce this protocol. Return your messages during a fixed time as well. Have your office staff explain that you will return the call after 2:00 or after 4:00, etc., so the caller doesn’t keep calling. Ten minutes here.

Starting next Monday, lasting for one week, record everything you do and the amount of time you spend on it. The following Monday look at it and start delegating the repetitive tasks. Start teaching an able person in your company to do some of the things that you do. Concentrate your time on the processes that are most important to your business.

Plan Ahead
Lastly, be realistic on what you will and should get done today. If you set an overwhelming agenda, you will be so frustrated that nothing will get done correctly. Now you have an extra hour in your day. Put it to good use.

Paul Bieber has 37 years’ experience in the glass industry, with C.R. Laurence and as executive vice president of Floral Glass in New York. He is now the principal of Bieber Consulting Group LLC and can be reached at paulbaseball@msn.com. Read his blog on Tuesdays at http://usgpaul.usglassmag.com.

 


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