Time is of the essence and efficiency is key in today’s fast-paced business world. You don’t have time to waste. Chet Holmes, author of the national bestseller “The Ultimate Sales Machine,” lays out six quick and easy steps to maximize the productivity of your business. Try them out – they work!

Step 1: Touch It Once

You have several letters to read on your desk, your phone rings, an alert sounds notifying you of a new e-mail, the e-mail has a new task for you to complete, one of your co-workers steps into your office with a question…it’s easy to get lost in the non-stop tasks of the workplace.

If you spend just 15 minutes per day to revisit, readdress, or reread documents or e-mails, you will waste 97 hours per year where no action is taken.

If you touch it, take action. That’s the first step to great time management. Don’t open the e-mail until you have time to deal with it.

Step 2: Make Lists

Lists help you stay focused on high priorities and highly productive matters. Keeping a list will double your productivity right away. Here’s the rule: list the six most important things you need to do, and get those six things completed each day. That doesn’t mean that you don’t keep a side list of running items that need to be accomplished throughout the week. When you plan each day (see Step 4), you can go to your week’s running list and use that as a menu of items from which to build your list of the six most important things for that day.

Step 3: Plan How Much Time You Will Allocate to Each Task

Do not think about when you will do each task yet. Just determine the amount of time you will realistically dedicate to each task. This is an important step to make sure that the six items on your list can actually be accomplished in a day. If one or more of the items on your list is too big to accomplish in one day, then write down how much time during that day you will dedicate to it. You will take care of bigger projects in manageable chunks of time.

Step 4: Plan the Day

Now that you have allocated amounts of time for each task, you need to plan them into your day. Make sure to set aside time to check e-mail. Remember, if you’re only touching it once, then you need to have a dedicated period of time each day when you can deal with it. Interruptions will undoubtedly arise throughout your day. It’s wise to schedule several brief periods of time for miscellaneous activities – quick meetings, responding to e-mail, etc.

Step 5: Prioritize

Ensure that your plan allows you to complete the most important task on your list first thing in the morning. If you put off your most difficult tasks until the end of the day it is likely that you will find a way to drop them off the list. Make sure most of your day is focused on proactive work and completing your most important tasks, not just the easiest.

Step 6: Ask Yourself, “Will It Hurt Me to Throw This Away?”

Studies show that 80 percent of all filed or stored information is never referred to again. So why hold on to it? To determine whether or not to keep something, ask yourself, “Will it hurt me to throw this away?” Could you get it again if you needed it? The answer is usually yes. Throw it away.

Holmes, C. (2008). The Ultimate sales machine. Penguin Group.

By , Owner at Kite Media

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