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Take a Time Management Tip From a Firefighter

One of the best time management tips comes from firefighters.

Firefighters really are not ‘on’ most of the time.  They spend their time by getting ready to be ‘on’ and planning to be ‘on’ and preparing for the inevitable ‘on’.  But for most of their day, they are not doing what they are trained to do.

Their job is to wait.

They might be hanging out at the firehouse, playing basketball, eating lunch or reading a book and all of the sudden have to go into action.

But in order to be able to go into action – they have to have prepared.  Their job is one of interruption and they must ALWAYS be prepared for those interruptions.

So, before they can do the “fun” of just hanging out and waiting, they must have done the job of preparing.

Then, when the interruption comes, they have methodical procedures to deal with them and they are able to implement with integrity.

What can you learn from a firefighter?

Have a plan to deal with interruptions.  Be methodical and you will find that either there will be less of them, or it will take far less time.

Some examples:

The Interruption of the Phone:  Designate an hour where you can return phone calls.  Then train everyone that they can leave you a voicemail or send a fax with their questions and if warranted, they can expect a call during that designated hour.

Customer Service Issues:  Set up a customer service line.  Have clear instructions EVERYWHERE that tell people what to do for these issues.  Train them to call that line and not you.

Employee Who “Needs” Your Input:  If they really need your input, tell them that they need to gather all of their questions and have them ready for you to go through at one time.  Then, designate and book that time.

If they do not really need you, then you need to re-train them – either by letting them do it thus making their own mistakes or creating a fail-safe system for them to follow.

Think about your most common interruptions and like the firefighters, create a methodical system to reduce them or reorganize the way they are handled until they are no longer ‘interruptions’, instead they are just triggers to your well-oiled systems.

Eliminate These to Double Productivity


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Take a Time Management Tip From a Firefighter
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