Effective Time Management for Busy People

Managing Meetings and Visitors

It is widely acknowledged that about one-third of the time spent in [tag]meetings[/tag] is wasted due to poor meeting management and lack of planning. Reliable estimates indicate that that the average executive spends about 17 hours a week in meetings, about 6 hours in planning time and untold hours in follow-up.

One senior executive recalls being summoned to meetings every single day of the business week: one meeting per week was labeled product marketing, another was called strategy, then product testing, then customer review. In addition, one of the five weekly meetings had no fixed agenda. And this does not count ad hoc meetings on issues that might crop up from time to time.

When this executive was not able to convince the CEO to scale back the number of meetings, she decided to work from home 50% of the time; her productivity (measured by closing of contracts) doubled!

It is not necessary to eliminate all meetings, but up to half of internal company meetings might profitably be dispensed with. Take a few minutes to write down how many meetings you attended last week, how many you have planned for the coming week, and how long you think they are going to last. Add up the hours, and slash the number of meetings by two, and/or the number of hours spent in them by 30%.

The same rule for incoming phone calls applies to personal appointments and visitors. If you have a secretary or PA, set a clear policy about who should have access to you and with whom else they might be able to speak instead.

If you have an unexpected visitor, establish at the start why they have come to see you.
Stand when they enter the room, so that they also remain standing. If it is indeed necessary for you to deal personally with them, suggest a later meeting, at your convenience. Set a time limit to your discussion and avoid engaging in small talk.
If you really can’t get them out of your office, make a polite excuse and leave the office yourself.

These tips are by no means exhaustive, but they represent a good start to managing your most precious resource: time.

Valerie Vauthey is the founder of the #1 Coaching Company http://www.MyPrivateCoach.com and the co-founder with Buzzy Gordon of http://www.WealthQuoteOfTheDay.com.

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