Yesterday I presented the first three items on this list of six things you should try in an attempt to get back in control of your time. Here are the final three. They all won´t work for you, but some will, and it sure doesn´t hurt to try:
4) Skip a meeting — According to some sources, the average senior level manager spends as much as 20 hours in meetings each week, and 10 more hours preparing for those meetings. That would be great if every meeting was productive and effective and worthwhile. It would also be great if I could flap my arms and fly. Neither is at all true, though. Sometimes you can´t know in advance which meetings will be great and which will be a complete bust, but often you have a pretty good idea. Next time you have a meeting which you know will be a waste of your time, come up with a good excuse to miss it. If you don´t have a good excuse, make one up. When you realize how productive you can be in that time that you would be sit in the meeting watching time roll by, you may never go to a useless meeting again.
5) Take a hike — The easiest thing to convince yourself to do when you are absolutely swamped is to work right through lunch. That may get you ahead in the short term, and it is unavoidable once in a while, but you don´t ultimately get any further ahead. If you do it regularly then by late afternoon you´re tired and frustrated and you lose focus. Next time you´re tempted to work through lunch, get up, grab your coat and go for a long walk. You won´t get any work done while your walking, but you´ll have lots of time to think, and you´ll come back refreshed and without cobwebs in your head. By late in the afternoon when you would normally be hitting a wall you´ll be feeling great. You´ll actually often get more done by taking a good amount of time to do nothing.
6) Close your door — When someone drops in on you when you don´t want to be dropped in on it can break your concentration, kill your momentum and cause you to spend a lot more time doing something than you need to. Some visits are completely necessary and unavoidable. Others, though, are just soul-sapping wastes of time and energy. How often can you hear the guy from down the hall tell you about the boat he wants to buy before you go insane? Next time you have a good chunk of work to do, just close your door. If something is really important, someone will knock. Someone who just wants to chat won´t disturb you, though, and that´s the best possible gift to your productivity. This will be especially effective if you don´t do it often, because people will know that you are serious about your privacy.