Rushing Into Trouble

Pick a pace that accentuates your strengths

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management,Office Organizer

Are you chronically late? If you stop conversations in midsentence because you must dart away, or you frantically grab your briefcase as you scurry out the door rather than calmly come and go, then pause and regroup.

Dashing around without a second to spare adds stress to your day. Plus, you give others a poor impression of your organizational skills. If your bosses, employees or clients judge you by your harried anxiety, they may overlook the merits of what you actually say or do.

Here are some ways to control time rather than letting it control you:

Set a sane schedule. Don’t assume you’re so busy that you must squeeze too many meetings into too few hours. Even if it’s imperative that you pack a lot into your day, prioritize ruthlessly so that you don’t overcommit. Example: Never plan back-to-back appointments if you’re at all uncertain about when the first one will end.

Choose flexibility over rigidity. Sometimes you must arrange an important meeting or attend a conference at a set time. But in many cases, you can hook up with people by establishing “office hours,” or a block of time when you’re available.

We’ve found that many busy managers needlessly pin themselves down by setting specific times for making or receiving a phone call or dropping by a colleague’s office. If you can make a phone appointment for between 4 and 6 p.m., that’s better than committing to talk at exactly 4:30 p.m.

Reserve a “private hour.” A therapeutic way to stay on top of your schedule is to block one hour each day for yourself. Use this time to play mental catch-up and clear your head for the challenges that await you.

Before you dismiss this as an impossible luxury, review your daily calendar. Identify the most time-sapping part of your day. Delegate more duties to save time. Find more efficient ways to handle your personal errands. If all else fails, wake up an hour earlier.

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