Where does the time go?

The Ticker

November 26, 1990|By Julius Westheimer

With only five weeks left until year-end -- and so much to accomplish in your workplace between today and Dec. 31 -- do you wonder where you'll find the hours to do it all? Two current stories attack the problem:

Working Woman, December issue, says, "Alec MacKenzie, author of Time for Success (McGraw Hill), surveyed the time logs of thousands of male and female executives to come up with a list of the biggest hour-eaters. Here they are, in order:

"Crisis management, telephone interruptions, lack of objectives, unclear priorities, insufficient planning, attempting too much, drop-in visitors, ineffective delegation, personal disorganization, lack of self-discipline, inability to say no, procrastination. One curious fact: meetings didn't even make the top 10."

And the article says, "White-collar people deal with each letter or memo on average of five times before acting on it. Some studies show that executives waste 40 percent of their time. How about you? Is your 'to do' list longer than your day? Do you start the week scrambling, as things hit you out of the blue? Do interruptions and 'catch-up' tasks take so much time, you don't launch new initiatives? Are you working late or on weekends to keep from falling behind?

"If you answered 'yes' to most of the above, follow advice of Kerry Gleason, head of Institute for Business Technology, Washington, D.C., who advises executives from Texaco, Shell, Digital Equipment, Lever Bros., GM, etc. His creed is, 'Do it Now! Do you want to halve your workload? Do things the instant they come up. You won't have to think them through again later.' Gleason adds that most executives could save a month each year if they toss the garbage from their desks, write the steps toward their goals and do things now, instead of putting them off. The crucial skill? Facing up to pain." (The complete article is worth reading.)

DO IT RIGHT: Planning a holiday business party for your friends, clients and/or prospects? Nancy Kahan, in her book, Entertaining for Business, gives these hints and more: "Biggest mistakes people make are trying to impress somebody, such as their boss or client, instead of making people comfortable . . . You want people to have fun, not just eat and drink . . . A few funny verses mean more than a bottle of the finest champagne . . . Nothing can kill a party faster than a half-empty room; it's always better to be too crowded . . . Many novices blow their budgets on the most expensive caterer they can get . . . Never hire a caterer without seeing his or her work, preferably going to an event or calling a few references. Interview at least three."

BALTIMORE & BEYOND: How Rumors Start Dep't.: a South Baltimore man, seeing a CLOSED sign on his bank automatic teller machine (the ATM is routinely closed daily between 1 and 2 p.m.), phoned a popular radio talk show and announced that he saw a sign saying that a big local bank was closed and therefore probably bankrupt . . . A local wholesale food broker told me, "Our business has slowed down a lot, and when people cut back on food, historically that's the 'last straw' before a recession . . . Hint to salesmen and women: in the cold, rainy holiday days ahead, when it's comfortable to stay in your warm office, you'll generally find customers and prospects "in," if you go out and beat the bushes . "Twenty-four percent of executives now use word processors to write letters, only 15 percent use dictating machines." (John Rost Assoc. survey) . . . "Nothing will give you more time than by being punctual." (Bits & Pieces) . .

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