Do you ever feel like you get to work and your day takes control of you? You must become more “proactive” and less “reactive” to become the “Ringmaster” instead of the beast. The Ringmaster is very patient and consistent, and has discipline. Here are seven strategies to take control of your day:
Slow down: You’re moving so fast that it takes multiple phone calls, e-mails, and meetings to accomplish the same thing we used to be able to do more simply. The Ringmaster tries to send an e-mail only once, make this call once, and/or have this meeting once. In order to do this, you would have to plan your call before you pick up the phone, plan
your e-mail before you start typing, and prepare and give out an agenda well in advance of your meeting.
Stop doing everything immediately: The single most counterproductive event you experience daily is doing everything the second someone asks or you think of it. Start negotiating new requests so they fit better into your day, but still work for the requestor. This will improve the number of tasks you are completing daily.
Cut down on relationship building: When you get into a groove first thing in the morning and a coworker stops by to chat, the Ringmaster suggests talking at break time or at lunch, when it’s most appropriate.
The Ringmaster realized that relationship building was all about quality, not quantity. If you set aside time each day to share with and listen to others, the quality of your working relationships would actually improve.
Batch like tasks or activities: The Ringmaster sets up times each day to work on like activities he or she has to accomplish to have more DISCIPLINE. The Ringmaster tries to answer e-mail, say, four times a day and turns off the audible notification. By only answering e-mails, each e-mail will take less time because you are basically replicating the same activity over and over. Now return phone calls. Finally go see your direct reports and see if they need any help or answers to questions.
Direct the request to the right person: Are you a people pleaser? When the Ringmaster gets a request that is not in his or her area of expertise, he or she directs the requestor to the right person. It is faster for the right person to answer the question or solve the problem than it is for you to try to do it! Focus on making sure you get your required work out of the way; otherwise, it will be left until the end of the day.
Improve the way you communicate: One of the fastest ways to improve productivity is to be more specific and detailed with others. This will save time for you, your direct reports, and others. This really eliminates questions and misunderstandings. Stop using “ASAP” immediately! You must improve the way you communicate first. Could you eliminate simple questions by being more specific?
Do one thing at a time, like successful people do: Try to bring 100 percent of your focus and concentration
to bear on one activity. Tasks will take less time to complete and you’ll make fewer mistakes. Either choose the phone call or the e-mail message, and put off the other until you’ve finished the one you chose. It’s not about how many tasks you start in a day, it’s about how many you complete.
“To become a ringmaster, you must realize that there’s a time and a place for everything. Successful time managers realize that it’s all about discipline.”