For the readers of this commentary, I would hope that time is an extremely priceless asset to you and like the best and worse of us; you are constantly running out of time. This article is intended for people that have several things going on at the same time in their life. Not for people who just joyfully do one task at a time. It is deliberately and purposefully for people who have many responsibilities with great ideas and limited time and resources to achieve them.
We have had valued treasured opinions and analysis on many different issues affecting our people and country. Many of these people have qualified credentials and requisite experience to write on those issues. Others are somehow questionable. It is about time that we add to the ongoing discourse, basic but very valuable and applicable principles of proper time management that will make a big difference in our success rate or failure in business and in our everyday life. The application of these basic but very valuable principles will help determine how much bread and butter, better yet, rice and cassava we can get.
With the proper use of our time, we can create successful businesses to turn our MBA credentials into real life MBAs (millionaire bank account). It still counts even, if it is in Liberian dollars. One then becomes a Liberian Millionaire, for a start.
Advantages of Being Self-Employed
Ordinary jobs in Liberia will pay you wages, mostly under US $50.00 for a whole month. Remember that if you have just a regular “job”, (Just Over Broke) you could be living from pay check to pay check; while your own successful business will make you profits. Do the math. Besides, nobody can fire you. It is your business. Some jobs are great. In addition to having a job, if we have one, we should strive to have several other sources of income - multiple streams of income.
Making the Best Use of Time
From generally working with people in my line of business, as a business consultant, trainer, coach, and real estate entrepreneur, it has been my experience that the proper use of time is one of the greatest challenges that people, including myself constantly face. Time is the most valued asset any entrepreneur, business person, government official, student or clergy have access to or could have access to. Most times, it seems like 24 hours is not enough for things that we have to do. Everyday, we all set aside things that we wish we could have completed. There are ways that we can be creative in how we spend our time to become more productive. We need time to solve problems; time to think, invent, create, and plan. We need time to develop good policies, carry out a sale; make profits, and/or time to gather and assimilate information.
We need valuable time for the development and implementation of national policies that will continue to improve our health care delivery system, security situation, high illiteracy and unemployment rate. We need time for personal family matters. We need time to worship our creator and give back to our community and country, by helping others. Time for resting, recreation and networking!
For more than 11 years, I have been engaged in international affairs, international business, and strategic management. I have also been involved with high pressure, entrepreneurial activities; by buying, selling, promoting, developing, succeeding and failing in different types of businesses. Also consulting, training, and coaching clients in several businesses. During the course of this, I have come to understand that one of the most vital principles or secrets of any kind of success, be it government or and private sector endeavors; individual, financial, or business success is how well time is used, misused or abused. This can happen either by ourselves, and/or allowing others to waste our time.
Maintaining Time Consciousness
Awareness of the importance of time and thinking about it is a fine starting point. Ahead of simple awareness there are realistic strategies, techniques, actions and tools that the busiest, most pressured person can use to squeeze some breathing room into his or her schedule to force others to cooperate with his special needs, to set in motion and have a bit more accomplishment each day. Below are 10 recommendations. These insights are simple, but based on evidence and proven, applicable, techniques that are helpful in managing and maximizing the use of your limited time in the most productive way.
Avoiding constant interruptions and realize the importance of your time. In Liberia, everybody is sending text and calling everybody on the cell phone at anytime, for just about any and everything. We have to learn to save the unimportant, meaningless, time wasting, not urgent things that can wait for later, and not just answer or respond to every beep. Let us not be slaves to the cell phone. Cell phones can be useful tools when used wisely. While you are at it, we can save some hard to come by money and expensive airtime too. Here are some simple but powerful ways to deal with that situation.
Ten Tips to Overcoming the Time Trap
1. Set time limit when you take a suspicious incoming call. For instance, Joe Blow, I have an upcoming meeting in 10 min but I want to take your call. Is this enough time for our conversation? Do we need to talk another time? You do not have to return every call right away. No, not during prime time, and spend less time on unimportant phone calls.
2. For People that just constantly drop by at the office using 45 min to discuss travails; use another 30 minutes to crash their heads before telling you their reason for being there. Here is a simply remedy. Tom, Dick or Harry, work load is hectic and it’s difficult nowadays to see drop in visitors. But it’s good to see you. We have only 15 minutes, though, because I have an important meeting in the next 30 minutes that I have to prepare for. Is that ok? This should help set time limits on habitual drop by office visitors.
3. Delegate. Delegation is one of the most important skills for a leader to have. Effective delegation will free up a great deal of time for you to focus on important matters.
4. Managing time takes practice. Constantly ask yourself, “Is this what I want or need to be doing right now?" Do I need to do this at all?" Do what you dream about doing, instead of just wasting time dreaming bout it.
5. If you are CEO in a corporation, then ask your Board for help. They are responsible to supervise you, as a CEO. Although the Board should not be micro-managing you, that is, involved in the day-to-day activities of the corporation, they still might have some ideas to help you with your time management. Remember, too, that good time management comes from good planning, and the Board is responsible to oversee development of major plans. Thus, the Board may be able to help you by doing a better job themselves in their responsibilities as planners for the organization.
6. Best suggestion for saving time - schedule 30 minutes to do nothing. That time can be used to just sit and clear your head. You will end up thinking more clearly, resulting in more time in your day. The best outcome of this practice is that it reminds you that you're not a slave to the clock - and that if you take 30 minutes out of your day, you and your organization won't fall apart.
7. Learn good meeting management skills. Meetings can become a terrible waste of time if not properly managed.
8. Get up early. Be prompt for all appointments. Avoid allowing others to waste your time.
9. Delegate authority if possible. Know your limitations. Call on specialists to do work that you cannot do efficiently and effectively.
10. Work to your full capacity. I know it is tough to break bad habits. However, it is necessary to make sacrifices so that you can be successful. Do not try to implement all of these ideas at once. Implement some at a time and repeat them until they become a natural part of your personal fabric.
About the Author:
Chris W. Moore has academic training in International Affairs and Strategic Management. He is a business developer, consultant, trainer, coach, and real estate entrepreneur. He has completed several business models for Liberia, and is currently working on others with limited opportunities for investment and or partnership. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2007 by The Perspective
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