Monthly Archives: October 2016



Time is a precious commodity. Each person has the same amount of time, 24 hours each day, to use productively or to waste. Many people believe that time management is one of the top reasons that individuals succeed or fail both professionally and in their personal lives. Zeller describes a broad variety of time management techniques and systems that can be used by people in different professional roles, as well as at home to ensure that they are making the most of their time every day.Training Session with Anubha with Manufacturing team


Before delving into detailed techniques for better time management, it is useful to take a look at the bigger picture, and analyze why time is so valuable. Zeller suggests taking a step back and considering one’s life goals and the value of one’s time in the long run.

The best time managers consider in depth the link between time management and their life goals. When a person understands his or her short, medium, or long-term goals, it helps shape the way time is then used as a result. Clear goals create a sense of urgency which motivates people to accomplish more in less time. Studies have shown that individuals who document their goals are more likely to achieve them in a shorter period of time. Zeller recommends identifying at least 50 goals to accomplish in the next ten years. The next step is to isolate the three most important goals to achieve within one year, three year, five year, and ten year timeframes. This exercise can help to effectively focus energy.

Another useful exercise is to determine what a person feels they are worth on a per hour analysis. When an individual understands the value of time after breaking it down to an hour-by-hour basis, it is easier to make educated decisions about how to organize their tasks. The goal should be to use time in a way that provides the best return on investment. A key question then becomes whether the time to perform a task costs more or less than hiring someone to do the work. Additionally, leisure activities should produce as much value as one’s hourly income rate. For example, a person might choose to pay a landscaping service to mow their lawn in order to spend that time doing something more enjoyable and personally productive.


After identifying one’s time management goals, it is a good idea to prioritize them. This results in a structured plan for attaining them. A basic principle called the 80/20 rule is important to remember. This principle suggests that 20 percent of a person’s tasks will generate 80 percent of their desired results. To maximize one’s productivity, therefore, it is necessary to place a high priority on the important activities that fall into the 20 percent zone. Zeller suggests that people identify their top 12 goals as well as identify the tasks necessary to accomplish them. These tasks should be broken down into a list of daily “to do” items. On a daily task list, the “A items” are those that will lead to a major consequence if not completed, while “B items” have only minor consequences if not completed, and “C items” have no penalty if not completed by the end of the day.

In addition to prioritization, techniques like time blocking, organization, and electronic tools can all support a robust time management system.

*Time blocking. Time blocking is a technique that can be used to schedule tasks during the day. Each day is broken into 15 minute segments. Personal activities should be blocked out first. Next, work related activities are added in. Zeller recommends spending 15 to 30 minutes each day and 90 to 120 minutes at the end of the week on self evaluation and planning. This time is used to review progress toward business and personal goals.

*Reducing clutter. To support a time management system, it is important to have an organized office environment. People with uncluttered workspaces tend to be more productive. They feel less distracted and can easily access the tools they need. To maintain an uncluttered work environment, many people handle papers just once. They make sure to execute one of the following options immediately: dump, delegate, detour, do it, or depot. Zeller insists that dump, delegate, and do it are self-explanatory options. A detour is when a paper is parked for later follow-up, and a depot is another term for filing papers. A similar system can be used for dealing with email – there are three possible options: delete, do it, or defer. Deferred emails should be placed in an electronic folder to review later.

*Electronic tools. Electronic tools can also help keep one’s schedule in check. Examples include portable digital assistants (PDAs) and scheduling tools like Microsoft Outlook. One major benefit of scheduling systems is the ability to set up meetings with colleagues without involving administrative assistants or extraneous people. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are invaluable for storing important information about clients and prospects. Important customer data includes names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and administrative assistant contact information. An organized computer is just as important as an organized workspace. This requires sorting through files, deleting those that are unnecessary, and backing up files that need to be archived. CDs and other storage media must be labeled and stored in a safe place. One option is to use mirrored servers so that backups always exist.

Time management can be challenging when a job requires a lot of travel. However, advanced planning can make business trips as productive as possible. Zeller recommends identifying the trip objectives before setting foot in a car or on a plane. He also suggests grouping trips together for a weeklong trip, rather than several small trips. Each day should be scheduled as tightly as possible. It is useful to book hotels based on convenience and services like Internet access, room service, and a business center. Try to pack efficiently by color coordinating clothing, using hotel toiletries, and investing in a small laptop and electronic reader.




Zeller also recognizes that different types of employees face unique challenges related to time management. He offers a breakdown of techniques pertaining to certain groups of employees:

*Administrative staff. Issues that reduce productivity for this group include meetings, phone calls, stalled projects, and large volumes of paper. It is imperative to understand the supervisor’s goals. This can be accomplished through regular meetings with the manager. The next step is to create a task list which groups items based on their completion date and places priority on the most important tasks.

*Salespeople. For salespeople, time divides into three categories: direct income producing activities (DIPA), indirect income producing activities (IIPA), and production supporting activities (PSA). Zeller believes that successful salespeople maximize their DIPA time. This can be done through prospecting, cold or warm calling, networking, and other activities. He suggests that sales professionals should spend 60 percent of their time each day on DIPA and half of that should be spent prospecting and following up on leads. In contrast, IIPA should not consume more than one hour per day. Examples of IIPA include marketing and lead generation programs. PSA should not use more than two hours per day. Ironically, the more DIPA a salesperson invests in, the more PSA tasks are created. Zeller recommends keeping the ratio of DIPA to PSA at around six to one.

*Business Owners and Executives. These groups are among the most time starved. Yet, even when businesses stabilize, entrepreneurs and executives seem to become addicted to time deprivation. Michael E. Gerber indicates in his book The E-Myth that balance must be found among three task categories: growth activities, work in the business (i.e., internal operations), and work on the business (i.e., looking for new opportunities). Most executives spend more than 80 percent of their time working in the business, less than 15 percent in growth activities, and less than 5 percent working on the business. In reality, they should spend at least 40 percent of their time in growth activities, less than 25 percent working in the business, and at least 15 percent working on the business. Developing a robust organization chart and management plan can help executives reach these goals.

*Managers Who Must Coach Employees. The first step to improving employees’ time management is to assess their strengths and weaknesses in this area. Coaching will only succeed if employees have bought into the need for better time management skills. Most people are not motivated to change their habits unless they are experiencing pain in their lives. This pain may be due to personal commitments that were missed due to excessive work, poor performance reviews at work, or health problems due to a lack of work-life balance. To improve employee productivity, managers must develop a plan and goals. The goals must be realistic, measurable, and have a deadline for completion. Lastly, it is important to teach employees to use time blocking and time tracking charts.

Ten Time Wasting Behaviors


Ten Time Wasting Behaviors 


Session with multinational firm Panasonic by Anubha and Manpreet

1. Failing to stop and think.
 When individuals do not invest in planning and preparation, they end up spending excessive amounts of time on execution. Time spent organizing thoughts before starting a project results in time savings and better quality results.

2. Multitasking. Research has shown that multitasking is an inefficient use of time. Important, high priority projects should be given undivided attention.

3. Demanding perfection. Seeking perfection is a waste of time. The time, effort, energy, and emotion needed reduces productivity.

4. Working without breaks. When people work without breaks, they inevitably reach a point where their focus and concentration decreases dramatically. The diminishing returns associated with continuous work result in wasted time.

5. Worrying and waiting. Both worry and procrastination can undermine one’s success. Waiting prevents people from taking a productive course of action.

6. Watching television. The average Indian watches more than 25 hours of television each week. Techniques for reducing time spent in front of the television include preplanning one’s TV schedule, scheduling “no watch zones” during the week, and prerecording programs.

7. Surfing the web. The amount of time that people spend on the Internet is increasing. Stay focused when using the web for research or information gathering.

8. Managing junk mail. Both email and paper mail have been inundated with junk content. It is possible to register with web sites to reduce the flow of junk mail.

9. Wasting commuting time. Time spent commuting does not need to be wasted time. Zeller listens to audio books and educational pod casts in his car.

10. Spending time with negative people. Spending time with negative people can reduce one’s energy and productivity. It is prudent to reduce the influence of negative people on one’s life.



Ten Habits That Promote Time Efficiency 

1. Start the day early. Since most people are more productive in the morning, Zeller recommends getting up a half hour to an hour earlier than usual.

2. Plan for the next day. Allocate time each evening to set up for the next day. Planning should incorporate both personal and work obligations.

3. Pay attention to health issues. Eat a healthy diet and have small frequent meals throughout the day to maintain energy. Exercise is also important. Scientific research proves that exercise stimulates chemicals that promote positive thoughts. Also be sure to get enough sleep each night.

4. Set aside downtime. Like children, adults also need unstructured blocks of time.

5. Plan meals for the week. Consider planning meals just once a week. This prevents wasting time each day deciding what to eat.

6. Delegate almost everything. Determine which tasks are most important and then delegate everything else.

7. Say no more often. There are countless demands on people’s time. It is essential to protect work and pastimes from other less important tasks. Say no when asked to take on activities that do not align with your goals.

8. Always use a time management system. The best way to retain time management skills is to adopt a system for managing time.

9. Simplify life. Owning and maintaining possessions is time consuming. Zeller recommends that people consider how their material items align with their goals. Objects that do not support one’s goals should be discarded.

10. Begin every day at zero. Leave mistakes, disappointments, and failures in the past. Things that happened yesterday need not affect the outcome of today.