Three Words That Will Destroy Your Day

You are having a productive day and plowing through your to-do list.  You’ve blocked off time to start a special project and are on pace to finish well ahead of schedule.   Suddenly, you are confronted with those three little words that can destroy your day: “Got a minute?” 

Most offices have the person that I describe as ”Got a Minute Gary”.  This is the individual that is always approaching you when you’re in the middle of completing an important project and asking, “Hey Eric, you got a minute?” I’ve discovered that they never take only a minute. On a good day, they waste at least 20 minutes of your time. Gary’s sole mission in life is to make you late. 

As you keep reading, you will learn two strategies to effectively deal with “Got a Minute Gary”. If you happen to be the Gary of your office, I hope this message inspires you to change your ways!

It’s important to know the value of your time. Knowing this will motivate you to protect it against unscheduled interruptions.   The calculation is simple.  Take your desired annual income and divide by the number of weeks you work factoring in scheduled vacations.   So if your desired income is $110,000 and you work 49 weeks (factoring in 3 vacation weeks), divide dollars weeks and you get $2,244.89.  Next, take the $2,244.89 and divide by the hours you work per week.  Be sure to subtract lunch time.  If you work 50 hours per week and take an hour for lunch each day, you would divide by 45 hours and get $50. In this calculation, your time is worth $50 per hour. 

For many of the people that I work with, their time is worth $100 per hour and up. If you fall into this category and Gary takes up a half an hour of your time, he is literally costing you $50 each time he interrupts you. Every time he shows up at your desk, picture yourself giving him a $50 dollar bill. 

When working on a project, let everyone know up front the times of day that you will not be available. This can be accomplished by putting a sign out notification on your email that lets people know the specific blocks of time that you will be out of the loop. Whenever someone emails you they will see the message. 

My favorite approach is the direct one.   When Gary asks you if you have a minute, tell him what you are working on, and offer to schedule an appointment time with him to discuss what he wants to talk about.  Have your calendar ready BEFORE he approaches you. 

You tell him what times work best for you instead of asking him when he is available.  Make sure you communicate when the meeting will start AND when it will end.   Short time windows inspire people to get to the point. 

The appointment will send the message that your time is too valuable to be wasted and will make Gary think twice before interrupting you again.   By calculating the value of your time and communicating your availability, you can avoid those three deadly words for good! 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner

To access additional time management strategies download my latest ebook, One Moment in Time.

Have a Competitive Edge Without Competing

Getting caught up in the rat race is a sure way to waste time. The rat race is an unhealthy competition based on the incorrect belief that there is a limited supply of resources in the universe. The rat racer believes that success must come at the expense of the competition. I am reminded of the famous story of two store owners named Joe and John that were in a daily battle for sales and customers. Their businesses were across the street from each other, and if Joe got a sale, then John would try to get two. 

One night, Joe had an encounter with a Magic Genie. The Genie informed him that he would be teaching him a lesson by granting any request he had with the condition being that John would get double of whatever he asked. If Joe asked for wealth, John would get double the wealth. If he asked for a new customer, John would get two new customers. After much thought, Joe made the request to be struck blind in ONE eye! This humorous illustration teaches us that an unhealthy competition can cause you to lose your VISION and waste valuable time. How can you have a competitive edge without competing? 

The best way to gain a competitive edge without competing is to find someone who has the results that you desire and duplicate their processes. In professional football, the team that wins the Super Bowl is usually the most copied team in the league. The other teams observe their practices, playbooks, and processes because they realize that the fastest route to success is to duplicate a proven system. I recommend the following two areas as great avenues for duplication:

1. Coaches
Having regular conversations with a coach who is an expert in your field will save you valuable time. There are two important keys to consider when looking for a coach. The first key is to find one that has the results that you desire. Think about it, if you aspired to start a business, hiring a coach that has successfully started twenty businesses would save you valuable time and keep you from making expensive mistakes. Secondly, make sure the coach demonstrates a pattern of continuous learning. Many successful coaches are also clients of a coach that they seek emulate. You would gain the benefit of their mentor’s knowledge and experience as a bonus. 

2. Colleagues
Whenever we see a colleague succeeding in an area that we aspire to, the normal reaction is to try to compete with them. Instead, we must apply my WHO/WHY/WHAT formula by asking the following questions: Who is consistently the top performer in your company or market? Why do they always produce the best results? What do they do that you could duplicate, to get a similar result? The best way to find out what the top performer does is to ASK them. I apply this formula whenever I go into a new business situation. It has saved me valuable time and kept me from “re-inventing the wheel.”

Seeking out a coach and learning from a successful colleague will save you valuable time and give you a competitive edge without having to compete. If you found this week’s tip to be helpful, please share it using the social media buttons at the bottom of the page. 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner