In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss spends a good amount of space talking about time management and life management skills. A few weeks, ago I wrote a Blog Post about Tim and his book. I had a lot of reader interest, so I thought I’d follow up with another post on Tim’s philosophy.
The section entitled “The Best of the Blog” features one of Tim’s blog entries entitled “The Not-to-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now.” Here is his list with my comments in Italics:
1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers. I admit I do this, especially since I get a lot of phone solicitations from people I don’t know. If it’s important, the caller will leave you a voice mail, or try and reach you via email or other means. The key here is that you won’t be distracted by any calls from unknown callers.
2. Do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Ferriss thinks the former “scrambles your priorities” for the day, and the latter causes insomnia. While I like to batch ,my email responses as much as possible, I actually prefer to check my email first thing in the morning, as well as late at night. I don’t seem to have any problem focusing on key priorities.
3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda and time. He also believes that no calls should take longer than 30 minutes. This is great if you can do it. Otherwise, I suggest setting expectations for topics and time at the very beginning of the call or meeting, and then stay on track as best as posible.
4. Do not let people ramble. Obvious.
5. Do not check e-mail constantly. “Batch” and check at set times only. Sometimes, you are expecting emails and responses from important team members or clients so it’s necessary to stay on email continually throughout the day. I agree that email can be a huge distraction, and a time suck, so try and do whatever you can to minimize wasted time and increase efficiency, including following this advice if it works for you.
6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers. Great advice and I will go even further and suggest that you should either terminate or restructure contracts with any low-profit and/or high-maintenance customers. A huge key to success is in having discipline in the kinds of customers you accept. Bad customers can put you out of business!
7. Do not work more to fix overwhelmingness – prioritize. Tim says that “the answer to overwhelmingness is not spinning more plates – or doing more- it’s defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your business and life.” I agre 100%.
8. Do not carry a cell phone or Crackberry 24/7. Tim thinks you should take one day per week off from cell phones and emails. Nice idea in concept, but the stark reality is that most businesspeople and business owners can’t afford to be out of touch.
9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should. Tim says, “Schedule life and defend iit the way you would an important business meeting.” This is not easy for a lot of workaholics I know, but it’s important to keep this in mind if you seek true work-life equilibrium.
I don’t think there’s anything earth shattering here, plus I am sure you have heard of some or most of these ideas in one form or another over the years. But it’s always good to think about tips like these to help you be more productive and focused.
Thanks for reading and please subscribe to my Blog via the link on my Home Page.
Featured image courtesy of timferriss licensed via creative commons.