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Over 100 pages of practical ideas!


Table of Contents

1. Creating Balance in Our Day, Every Day

2. Managing Multiple Priorities

3. Overcoming Procrastination

4. Effective Delegation For Results

5. Maximizing Meeting Time

6. Managing Paperwork

7. Controlling Interruptions

8. Tools to BEAT THE CLOCK

9. The Personal Productivity System

Here's a sample from Chapter 2, pages 32-33:
CRISIS MANAGEMENT


Crisis Management, for the most part is when the deadline has snuck up behind you and robbed you of all choice. I would suggest that if you find yourself in Crisis Management a lot, it probably has less to do with your day-to-day responsibilities and more to do with a lack of Anticipation, because most of the things that put us into Crisis Management are things that are capable of being anticipated.

USE THE CRISIS MANAGEMENT LOG

Here is a good exercise to help reduce Crisis Management. For the next two weeks, run a Crisis Management Log. Nothing fancy about it at all. Simply take a pad of paper and entitle it "Crisis Management Log" and for the next two weeks when you encounter a crisis, log it in. Put down the date and time it occurs and a little detail, so that two weeks later when you go back to review, you will remember the particulars. After two weeks go back and review every crisis you encountered and ask yourself, "Which of these could have been avoided?"

Most people discover that about 80% of the crises could have been avoided with better anticipation and planning. Then start the corrective steps to reduce the frequency of your crisis management events by starting deadlined items sooner or requesting needed information sooner rather than waiting until the last minute to receive it.

Now when it is the day before a vacation, I am not rushed. I already have the film, things are taken care of and I often get to go home early, pack and relax. We leave as planned. We miss the traffic. I have a different reality not because I changed my profession but, rather, I changed the way I managed my time.

One other thought. Whenever I would go away for any period of time, upon my return, things would "hit the fan". (Does anyone need a diagram?) Sure, things would get backed up and I would be in a crisis that first day back. One technique that has helped a lot is that when I am away, my office instructs callers that "Don is away but will be back and available for your phone call on Friday the 22nd." I will really be back on Thursday the 21st, but this is not a misrepresentation. "He will be back and available for your phone call on Friday." So when I return to the office on Thursday, I have a lot of backed up items and phone calls to deal with but no one knows I am there. I have Thursday to get back into the saddle at my pace and get ready to take off at full speed on Friday, the second day back.

YOU CAN KISS THAT $10,000 GOOD-BYE

The final principle is Integration. This is the idea of having every appointment and scheduled event in one central location. In one of our Time Management Seminars, I had a student who lost a $10,000-a-year contract over this issue.

He worked for a local corporation as a computer analyst, did consulting on the side and was the kids' soccer coach. Like many of us, he had a separate calendar for each responsibility. He got a call from an old client which provided him with over $10,000 per year in consulting fees. He was asked if Thursday the 15th was available. He went into his den where he kept his consulting calendar. The space was available so he said "Yes". What he forgot to do was waltz into the kitchen where the soccer schedule was stuck on the refrigerator. Thursday the 15th was the same day as the championship game and he had to be there, he could not let the kids down. He also neglected to check his work calendar because that was at work ("Why would I carry my work calendar with me?") and that was the same day that a senior vice-president was coming in from the West Coast. You can imagine, it was going to be a stress-filled day.

He went to work that day, had a terrible day, came home at 5:00 p.m., changed his clothes to go to the soccer game. Got home at 7:30 p.m., showered, changed his clothes again to get to the consulting assignment at 8:15 p.m. and by the time he got there he was a dishrag...and they knew it. This fellow then received a letter from the consulting client that they were terminating his services. When they are paying you $50 an hour, they want $50 an hour out of you. That represented the loss of over $10,000 in annual consulting income.

My friend observed, "If I only had that principle of Integration working for me with all my commitments in one place, I never would have agreed to that day and time. And it's true, had I suggested an alternative date and time to do the consulting, they would've agreed. I can't believe how simple but powerful that technique is."

Use the Month at a Glance system to help you get the "Big Picture".

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