What do you do with your 480 minutes?

In each and every day there is just 1440 minutes available for us.  We can not defer any of that precious time, there are no do overs and you can not put any of it in the bank.  Assuming that you are lucky you will have 39447000 minutes available to you in your life.  For me I have used about 19986480 of my available minutes and while I have some regrets about what I have used them for I realize that the past is the past and I can not change that.  Looking to the future, every minute counts and I try to maximize each and every moment I have.

In a typical work day our employers pay us for 480 minutes, some tasks take longer than others but when you develop laser focus and make the time that you have seriously then a perspective and clarity comes to you and you can start to focus on what is really important.

As a Sales Professional that operates from a static office (also known as Inside Sales) I do not have the wasted effort of transit time and I can book my self up to 16 appointments in any given work day.  My employer has an expectation on each person in the sales department to be utilizing their time effectively and in a metric driven practice the minimum standard is about 160 minutes of actually talking to our customers.  Less that 3 hours of our 8 hour shift is spent actually talking to our customers on a daily basis and yet many say that this target is unacheivable???

Numbers, like time do not deceive us, they do not change the outcome of their truth is fixed.  I often find comfort in looking at and manipulating numbers to seek a desired outcome.  This is a product of my time working as a WorkForce Manager at a Call Center in Ottawa.  In that environment time is quite literally money and my job was to analyze the data and make projected outcomes on an minute by minute basis of how time was being utilized…I loved that job and took great enjoyment in focusing on proper time utilization and maximizing the time and staffing options available each shift.

Assuming that your job to has you in the office working for your 480 minutes each day how do you use your time and is there opportunities to squeeze out some added efficiencies?

To “add” time to my day I always try to be at least 30 minutes early for my shift.  This gives me the opportunity to get myself into the right mindset and prepare for the start of the day letting me maximize the remaining 480 minutes I have available.  Another tactic that I use is that I don’t take my full 2 x 15 minute breaks away from my desk and that gives me an extra 10 – 20 minutes to work with, I do the same thing with my lunch break of 60 minutes and quite often will book calls over this hour extending my working time to 540 minutes of availability!

But then there are the unavoidable time wasters that take us away from being “on task”.  Each day I am subjected to between 20 and 45 minutes of meetings, some are vital others just a complete waste but always important for someone in the organization.  There are the questions and queries that come from my colleagues that pull me off task for about 30 minutes per day and then of course Email.

Email is a critical business tool that is abused to the extreme in most business environments.  In our office we have set up message groups that allow us to with one word blast a message out to the entire sales team.  Just like the meetings that we must go to there are important messages tucked away in the middle of the “High 5’s and Kudos on your big sale” emails that account for about 500 emails streaming into my inbox each week so it is not a simple…put all messages directly to the trash.  Then there is the simple email etiquette people do not seem to get the importance of and the difference between REPLY and REPLY ALL!

I did a quick calculation some time ago.  The “filtering” of my 500 emails accounts for a per day loss of about 1.75 minutes per day…not a lot but over a week that translates to about 9 minutes, over a month 3 hours and over a one year period almost a full week lost (36.75 hours).

Some great resources for Time Management that I have found and leveraged to help me:

http://sbinfocanada.about.com/cs/timemanagement/a/timemgttips.htm
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_HTE.htm
http://www.bnet.com/topics/time+management
http://www.effective-time-management-tips.com/

I will recommend an excersize for everyone though and that is to conduct a time Audit on your entire day.  For the next week, look to what you are doing from the first time you lift your head off your pillow until the end of the day when you come crashing down.  Track the time you use on all tasks and create a log book of your daily and weekly tasks, try downloading this simple log book to get you started http://www.businessballs.com/timemanagementtimelog.pdf  there are some solid Excel tools out there as well but for “times sake” I would just include a single link for that.

Use your 480 minutes more wisely as to fail to do so and you have lost that time for ever!

Cheers,

Chris J Powell

Posted on June 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

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