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Tips 189-193: Cut Your Workday by 30 Minutes




Cut Your Workday by 30 Minutes

You will get more done. A deadline forces you to eliminate all the little time-wasters (silly interruptions, procrastination, perfectionism). Just because you can work all the time doesn't mean you should. If you work in an office, stick to your scheduled hours. If you work at home, set an alarm to end your workday, and dedicate evenings and weekends completely to your personal life.


Define an Outcome for Every Meeting

Identify a topic and outcome for every meeting, and send it to all participants a minimum of 24 hours beforehand so that everyone comes prepared. Well-run, useful meetings provide enormous value--they can solve problems, generate ideas, save you time, clarify direction, tighten work bonds, build teamwork, and reignite passion for projects.


Reduce Paper Clutter

Eighty percent of what is filed is never looked at again. Before saving any document, ask yourself whether you would trust that the information is up to date next time you look for it. If not, it's time to pitch, shred or recycle. For printing, use duplex printing to generate fewer pages. When it comes to printing information from web pages, consider using software such as Canon Easy-WebPrint EX--and print only the information you really need.


Create Templates

As entrepreneurs, we write many proposals, thank you notes, customer e-mails and press releases to various contacts. However, there is no need to write from scratch every time. While you don't want your correspondence to sound like a form letter, writing every letter from scratch is an enormous waste of time. Creating a template for every document that must be sent more than once opens up your schedule for other work. Just be sure to customize your template based on the contact to whom you are writing.


Set the Due Date

No matter how much room you leave for creativity in the delegation process, never be vague about the due date. If you leave the due date vague, other priorities will usurp your delegatee's focus, or not leave you enough time to correct the work, if necessary.

Leave enough of a cushion so that if the work doesn't come back as you'd hoped, there is enough time to correct it before the real deadline. It's sometimes helpful to give the person an estimate of how long you think the task should take and how long you want them to spend on it. Put a reminder in your planner to follow up the day the task is due.

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