We all set start times for things – let’s face it, it would be pretty difficult not to. But very few of us set end times. A time that whatever we are doing will end.
In fact, talking of start times, let’s cover those first. Have you ever thought about making a start time not on the hour? Most meetings are naturally set on the hour. 10.00am – 11.00am – 2.00pm that sort of thing.
So how about instead of setting a time of say 10.00am you go for 10.15am? It’s amazing the difference it makes. Psychologically it says the meeting will be shorter – because people’s minds work in hours. And of course it marks you out as different. You stand out. It’s a small thing but it helps you to be remembered.
But put that together with end times and you have a real winner.
Most people don’t set end times for their meetings and so their meetings take as long as they – well take. In consequence they allow any meetings they have a large window of time. Extra time in case they run-over. Or even – just because they don’t have much else to do. Nothing planned. The thing is these people don’t value their time. The amazing thing is that time is the only thing we can’t get more of – when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Why do meetings drift? The simple answer is because most people don’t plan their meetings. They have a broad topic (or an overloaded topic) – but that’s about it. So it’s impossible to know how long they will take.
So a great place, maybe the only place, to start is to plan your meetings; by doing that you will have a good idea of an end time.
On the other hand – just set an end time in the first place. You will be amazed at how much more focused your meetings will become and because of that a great deal more productive.
Now this might seem like a small thing (and you might already do it) – but it can have enormous benefits.
One of which is with diary dates. If you look at the average person’s diary they are filled with a lot of ‘air’. Shall we say coffee time, or catching up on social media – that sort of thing. For example: meeting at 9.00am – not sure when it will end, so maybe the next meeting will be a 11.00am. Time for a coffee in between – or look around the shops. I bet you’ve been guilty of that. I know I used to be.
Worse still, I know business owners who never book more than one meeting in the morning and another in the afternoon! Why? Because they just don’t know how long their meetings will take. Nothing has been set. It could be 20 minutes, on the other hand it could be two hours. Result? Lots of lost time.
Now just imagine what a difference there would be if you set an end time and didn’t start on the hour.
First meeting at 9.15am – finish by 10.00am. Next meeting at 10.30am ending at 11.30am. Meeting after that starts at 12.00 and ends at 12.45pm. All made possible by setting end times.
With clear focus and planning, meetings will be both shorter and more productive. Making it possible to have two, maybe three, meetings where before you had just the one.
Just think what that would do to your own personal productivity! Scary isn’t it?
But it doesn’t have to end there. Because all ‘meetings’ can have a fixed end time. Zoom calls, video calls, even plain old phone calls.
I know someone who only takes phone calls in the afternoon and they are all booked in slots of 15 and 20 minutes – on top of which before the call is made he has a rough agenda for the call. The amount of work this guy gets done in a day is just staggering.
If you value the limited time you have – please plan and set end times (end times made possible due to the planning) – I promise that you will discover time that you thought just didn’t exist.
Well that’s it, four really useful business practice thoughts that will give you more time.
I hope that you will implement some, if not all four, into your business and that you reap the rewards from doing so. If you do, frankly, the results will amaze you. And please don’t even think for the moment that you don’t have the time – because you do.
You will have hours, and I do mean hours, of extra time. But more importantly you will find that time pressure disappears and with that a vast amount of stress.
And it doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone can save some time. From maybe just a couple of hours a week to, in some cases, whole days. I’ve seen it!
Whichever it is, you don’t need much of an imagination, to see how the extra time would make a massive difference to your business – in fact your way of life.
You would have control; more time to work on your business. You could have a better work life balance. And, I’d almost guarantee, fewer sleepless nights.