It’s the ‘Next’ Step That Controls Your Time

If we counted up the number of interactions and interruptions you had per day, how many do you think we would find?

The average number of such interactions per day is about 150!

And let’s just say they each take 2 minutes.  that is 300 minutes or 5 hours a day to deal with incoming phone calls, letters or emails, and conversations with co-workers, clients and support staff.

Leaving us about 3 hours to get actual work done.  And that is IF you only spend 2 minutes on each interaction/interruption.

So, how do we get anything done without tearing our hair out?

We need a system to give us clarity.

First step is to question ANYTHING that comes to you:  “Is this something to take action on right now?

If the answer is yes – then take the appropriate action.  Don’t continue to ponder, discuss or deliberate.  Take action.

The action might be to schedule it for later, or give it to someone qualified to take care of it.  But move it to the next step on the way to being complete.

If the answer is no – then answer the next question.  Can it be eliminated completely?

If yes, do it!

If no, then does it need to be set aside to be dealt with at a later date.  Then put it in a place (e.g. tickler file, dated file) that will ensure that you see it to deal with it.

Know your next step.  Be ruthless with interruptions – be they people, paper or pinging email.  Do not let them run you.

You choose where to spend your time – so make sure you run them.

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It’s the ‘Next’ Step That Controls Your Time
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