Tag Archive: time management

Sticking to Priorities

December 9th, 2015

supply chainSticking to priorities is always important; however, it can be especially challenging during the holiday season as there are so many demands on our time. For example, today I had a key priority that had to be completed for a client. I knew it would take substantial time, and I had been working on it for a while. I had postponed it in order to address personal priorities, and so I knew it had to be #1.

There were countless distractions, seemingly important tasks and conflicting priorities. However instead of being deterred, I stuck to my priorities, completed the project, and then went on to the numerous other demands – including this newsletter. This sounds much easier than it is to accomplish – what are tricks of the trade to stick to your priorities?

One tip to implement this week:

The great news is that most of us have far too many priorities; thus, picking an important one shouldn’t be difficult. Once we’ve chosen a top priority (do not worry about perfection; the worst case scenario is that we’ll pick an important priority vs. the most important priority), take a step back to think about your plan to complete/address this priority. If it includes a task, plan it into your calendar. Talk is cheap; instead, start taking action.

Consider scheduling something you enjoy at a key milestone in the process. For example, I enjoy eating lunch outside, and so I might take an hour out of the schedule to go to one of my favorite restaurants as I reach a morning milestone.

Communicate your goal verbally. I committed to a particular deadline and communicated that to several folks. If I started to go off-track, not only would these folks likely help steer me back on track but they also would help hold me accountable. Find partners. Business is a team sport!

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


Why It’s Important to Take Time to Think

November 23rd, 2015

supply chainI was in Hawaii the last few days for a strategy session. It was great to have dedicated time to think through strategy, brainstorm and improve upon it with colleagues, etc.

Although this photo isn’t the typical beach scene from Hawaii, I thought it was a great picture and fascinating. Just like this tree, there is so much to notice and consider. Do you take the time out to get away and THINK?

time to think

One tip to implement this week:

No matter what is happening, set aside a few minutes to think. It doesn’t have to be laborious or lengthy. I find that new ideas pop up when you have time to think. And you’ll end up performing whatever tasks you are working on better/ quicker. No matter how much we think we can just keep going, everyone needs some time to just think. It doesn’t have to be about work; just set aside the time.  No matter what you think about, more ideas are guaranteed to start flowing.

Don’t leave it to chance. Plan it in your calendar. Tell your spouse or employees. Block it out from whatever roadblocks might arise. Even 10 minutes of thinking time this week could lead to significant benefits. Let me know how it goes. 

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


The Value of Thinking about Calendars & Schedules

November 9th, 2015

supply chainSince I was largely away for a few weeks during my dad’s stroke, hospice stay and funeral, I moved all non-essential meetings during that time frame.  Now that I am “back”, I have been trying to reschedule the meetings, follow-up on the ones I never planned as I knew I couldn’t add them in during that time frame, etc. My strength is organization and yet I am struggling with schedules as there are so many parties involved and so much is up in the air. Thus, I have a new appreciation for the value of schedules!

If you have a good idea of what you’ll be doing and when, it makes it FAR easier to plan other meetings/events. Since one of the themes in today’s marketplace is volatility, it certainly carries over to schedules. I started with the urgent, sent out notes on just the top few and slowly added the rest as I was able to confirm time frames. This process typically works really well; however, as meetings move around, it leaves me with a new appreciation for the value of scheduling in creating efficiency.

One tip to implement this week:

My clients typically have a lot of events on their daily calendar; thus, it is worth thinking about time management and how it can be improved. Start by looking out a week at a time and see how you’ve filled your calendar. If you’ve scheduled back-to-back meetings, you’ll likely “fail” somewhere along the line as perfection doesn’t exist in meeting start and end times. Instead, schedule into your calendar time in-between meetings. I realize this could be a real challenge but since you’ll have to prioritize anyway when a meeting veers off-schedule, it is a good idea to think about it upfront.

Also, take a look at transition points between one day or one week or one month to the next. Simple things can be very confusing depending on how you review your calendar. Are you looking to see if you have to be in another facility, state or country next week? If so, you need to plan in travel time. Is there anyone you need to communicate with prior to, during or just after a transition point?

Following just these two suggestions can give a lift to your efficiency as your calendar falls into place. With that said, we are all dependent on other meeting participants, and so remember to communicate!

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


Cherry Blossoms & The Value of Time

April 20th, 2015

supply chainI was in DC this week for a conference. My theme last week was on continuous learning, and I put that into practice this week. Walked away with several ideas. It just so happens to be “cherry season” in DC. This is what got me thinking about time because the cherry trees are beautiful but only in blossom and last for 10-14 days. How ridiculous is that? Talk about a condensed tour season for cherry blossoms! Perhaps that’s why all the hotels were booked….

Thus, cherry trees made me think about the impact of time in our work life as well. If there is one common theme I hear from executives, it is that TIME matters – there isn’t enough time in the day; customers are demanding quick deliveries; month-end close must be rapid for quick decision-making, etc. I guarantee if you take too long to make decisions, you will miss opportunities. When you are 80% ready, GO! Sure, sometimes you’ll be wrong but you’ll gain many more successes that would be missed opportunities than you’ll experience in failures.

One tip to implement this week:

The nice thing about time is that it is not a resource; it is a priority. We cannot increase or decrease the number of hours in a day; however, we choose where we spend our time – a priority. Thus, one easy tip that might be hard to implement is to stop whining about the lack of time!  Instead, think about where you are spending your time. Even track what you are doing for a day – hour by hour.

Did you waste much more than you thought? Reallocate your time to what will drive results – your A tasks. Ignore your C’s – you might never get to them; however, wouldn’t it be better to miss a C than an A because you started with what was easy vs. what should be your priority? Also, consider this: Find a non-essential activity you can cut 15 minutes from on a daily basis. It will be pretty easy if you create that hour-by-hour log. If you do that for a year, you’ll have found 91 hours!

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”