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Doing the right thing at the right time

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in Office Management,Time Management

Not all hours are created equally, observes author and speaker Tom Searcy. The secret is to review your calendar and make sure you’re doing the right things at the right times. His tips can help a busy administrative professional bring order to his or her schedule, as well as improve the boss’s effectiveness.

•  Figure out your time. Rank your activities over the course of the week into three categories: High Value, Low Value and No Value, Searcy advises. The value standard is what produces the most value for you or your boss. “Most of us do not think about our jobs as what we get done, but rather what we do," Searcy says. “But highly productive people think in outcomes first and activities second.”

What if you could move one hour per day out of No Value into Low Value, and one hour from Low to High Value? That would change your value curve in a big way over the course of a year.

• Cut your time wasters. Look at your Low Value and No Value categories. These probably include things like regularly scheduled meetings, email shuffling and mandatory events. You want to trade these things for activities that generate revenue or provide service for your boss.

So look at those Low or No Value activities and determine if you can consolidate, automate, delegate or eliminate them. For example, perhaps reports can be made available online rather than hand-generated, printed and distributed.

• Track, check and protect. “You have to track how you spend your time on a regular basis,” says Searcy, who recommends weekly. “Then check it against your goals of value. Finally, you have to be diligent in protecting your time from the insidious virus of bureaucratic creep.”

— Adapted from “Protect the 2 hours that mean the most,” Tom Searcy, Inc.com.

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