Cover image for Time management for dummies
Title:
Time management for dummies
Author:
Mayer, Jeffrey J.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Foster City, CA : IDG Books Worldwide, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xxxii, 372 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780764551451
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Do you have a habit of coming to work early, staying late, and working on your weekends? How many times have you used the excuse "There's just not enough time in the day to get everything done?" Probably more often than you'd care to admit! Well, now you don't need any excuses for not accomplishing everything you've set out to do -- not when you have Time Management For Dummies , 2nd Edition, as your trusty resource. You'll be amazed at what you can get done each and every day when you discover the timesaving tips, techniques, ideas, and strategies in this book.

If you want to become more effective, efficient, and productive, then this book is one of the best time investments you can make. Dubbed ìMr. Neat the Clutterbusterî by USA Today, author Jeffrey J. Mayer gives you hundreds of timesaving tips that can help you save at least an hour a day. You also find the latest word on time-management tools as well as valuable tips on organizing your life at home and improving your ability to communicate effectively. So if you want to be more productive, get better organized, and still make it home in time for dinner, then discover how to pace yourself with Time Management For Dummies , 2nd Edition.


Author Notes

Jeffrey J. Mayer, born in 1950, is a leading authority on time and money management. Even as a child, Mayer had a passion for orderliness. He started his career as an insurance executive in his family's firm in Chicago, but his real success began when he became a consultant and began to spread his message.

Mayer believes that clutter negatively affects productivity. He says that a clean desk is more efficient than one filled with papers, even though a messy desk makes a person appear to be busier. To manage the clutter, he advocates the use of file folders and lists.

Mayer has written numerous books on organizational management, including several in the popular Dummies series published by IDG Books; titles include "ACT! For Windows for Dummies: If You Haven't Got the Time to Do It Right: When Will You Have the Time to Do It Over?" and "Time and Money Management for Dummies." In 1984, he founded a consulting firm, Mayer Enterprises, and is highly regarded as a speaker and consultant to corporations and businesses.

In addition, Mayer publishes a newsletter titled ACT! In ACTion. In it, he promotes and explains his methods for managing clutter and saving time and money. He has been profiled in such magazines as People Weekly and USA Today, and has also written software programs on organization and time management.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One The Time Management Mind-Set In This Chapter * Achieving success with time management * Pacing yourself * Assessing your time management skills With workloads that have become swollen by the downsizing fervor, we're all working harder than ever. We're coming into our offices earlier each morning. We're staying later in the evening. When was the last time you even took a 30-minute lunch? How many times a week do you skip lunch? And though we're putting in all these extra hours, we aren't getting to our important projects, let alone the routine correspondence and the other miscellaneous things that have accumulated in piles on our desk, in our in-boxes, on the credenza, and on the floor. These things wait until Saturday, when we hope to have some uninterrupted time so that we can actually get something done. So what are we doing during our eight-, ten-, or twelve-hour days? I haven't got the slightest idea, and I'll bet that you don't either. That's probably why you're reading this book at this very moment. On the following pages, you'll learn some wonderful timesaving tips, techniques, ideas, and strategies that will help you get your work done quicker, faster, and better, and give you more time to spend with your family and friends. Become More Productive, Efficient, and Effective -- Not Just Busy In today's highly competitive business environment, working additional hours doesn't guarantee that your business will be more successful or that your career will prosper. The only way that you can be successful today is to become more productive, efficient, and effective, not just busy. When productivity increases, the quality of your work improves, you get things done on time, and best of all, you accomplish more tasks with less effort. The company makes money, and so do you. You must remember that you're getting paid for your results, not the number of hours you work. We all have encountered coworkers who try to impress us by bragging about how many hours they put in. They wear their 70- or 80-hour work weeks as a badge of honor. They believe that the extra hours show dedication to company and career. In many instances, though, the overtime is a smoke screen that covers up inefficiencies and poor work habits. If you analyze the quality of these people's work, the volume of work produced, and the timeliness for completing it, you'll quickly discover that people who consistently work overtime really aren't superstars. In fact, they're just barely getting by. They rarely get their work done on time, and the quality of that work is OK at best. Considering the number of hours they actually work, they're getting a very poor return on their investment. You've Got to Pace Yourself Many people don't realize that there's a big difference between working hard and working smart -- between being busy and being productive. For most of us, a career will span 30 to 40 years. If you think of a career as if it were a marathon, you realize the necessity to pace yourself over the course of the race. Sure, there are times when you need to pick up the pace, and then you need to slow down again to catch your breath. Your goal should be to use and conserve energy so that you don't burn out or become exhausted long before crossing the finish line. The people who work 50, 60, or 70 hours per week are pacing themselves through a 100-yard sprint when they're really in a marathon. They're working as hard as they can, for as long as they can, in the hope of crossing the finish line before they collapse. They look at the completion of the next project or task as the finish line, and they look no further. As soon as they have another project to work on, they soon find themselves running another race. Until recently, most employers didn't care how many hours it took for an employee to get a particular job done. Productivity and efficiency weren't that important because the extra costs could always be passed along to the customer. That approach doesn't work any longer. The competition is just too fierce. As a result, corporate America's been forced to find ways to cut expenses, increase employee productivity, and improve the quality of their products or services. These goals cannot be achieved by asking employees to work longer and harder. Employees need to be taught to work more efficiently and effectively. For one thing, working longer hours doesn't necessarily make an employee more productive. Every person has a limit, and there's a point of diminishing returns where additional hours of work don't result in a measurable increase in the quality or the quantity of the work produced. In fact, when a person's putting in too many hours, the probability of making a mistake dramatically increases. History has shown that these kinds of mistakes can be very costly in time and in money both to the company and to the employee. Studies have also shown that working long hours leads to burnout, increased stress and tension on the job, and additional pressures at home. Today, people need to measure and balance the requirements at work with those of their personal and family life. Testing Your Time Management Savvy We're all looking for ways to do our work quicker, faster, and better. Now if you want to learn how to manage your time better, you've got to become aware of how you're spending your time during a typical business day. So before you dive into this book, I would like to ask you some questions: 1. How long does it take you to find important papers -- like that report your boss wants in the next 60 seconds -- that are buried in piles on the top of your desk? See Chapter 2 to learn how to transform a desk that looks like a toxic waste dump into one that resembles the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. 2. How many times have you been put in Voice Mail Jail? To get out of Voice Mail Jail, read Chapter 11. 3. Do you find yourself playing endless games of telephone tag with your most important clients? To quickly win the game, turn to Chapter 10. 4. Do you spend your day putting out fires while your important tasks just seem to fall through the cracks? See Chapter 6 for help. 5. Would you like to spend less time responding to your e-mail messages and more time doing your important work? If so, see Chapter 13. 6. Do you find that you don't get to your important tasks until the very last minute? Then check out Chapter 3 for tips on getting the most out of your Master List. 7. Would you like to get your appointment book, calendar, Rolodex file, and things-to-do list off your desk and inside your computer? Then read Chapter 5 to learn how you can use ACT! to take control of your day. 8. Would you like to do a better job of promoting your company and yourself? Then see Chapter 15. 9. Do you spend too many hours each week sitting in meetings that don't accomplish much and leave important issues unresolved? Then read Chapter 7 for help. 10. Would you like to have more time for yourself, your family, and your friends? If so, you should sit yourself down and read this book cover to cover. It's packed with so many timesaving tips, techniques, ideas, and strategies that you'll quickly find yourself doing better work and completing it on time, with less pressure and strain. The time that you once wasted during a normal business day will be used much more productively and efficiently. And as a result, you'll be spending less time at work and more time with your family and friends. Now that's being productive! Chapter Two Getting and Staying Organized In This Chapter * Getting organized * Cleaning off your desk * Filing your documents * Organizing your reading material * Staying organized On the next few pages, I'm going to show you my fun and easy process for getting, and staying, organized. You should be able to organize your desk in about two hours time, so turn off the phone and close the door -- if you're lucky enough to have one -- so that you won't be interrupted, and don't forget to bring a dumpster. You'll find that at least 60 percent of the papers on your desk can be tossed, and when you start working on the drawers inside your desk, as well as your file drawers, you'll discover that at least 80 percent of those papers can go. You Can Save Yourself an Hour a Day By Getting Organized You probably don't realize it, but most people waste almost an hour a day looking for papers that are lost on the top of their desks -- 60 percent of which aren't needed anyway. So that's where I think we should start: with the top of the desk. Let me describe a typical office: * There are piles of paper everywhere -- on the desk, the credenza, the chair, and the floor. * Next to the phone there's a pile of pink phone slips. * The lights on the phone itself are blinking so fast that one would think the phone's about to explode because of all of the new voice mail messages. * On the wall there are so many sticky notes that they could be mistaken for a swarm of butterflies. * Off in a corner there are piles of unread newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. * Your computer is constantly announcing the arrival of a new e-mail message. * Somewhere in all of this mess are a calendar, an appointment book, and a to-do list. Sound familiar? Well, you're going to get rid of all of those piles of paper on the desk. In just a few hours, you can take a desk that looks like a toxic waste dump -- with piles of papers everywhere -- and transform it into a desk that looks like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. You'll throw away so much that your wastebasket (or recycling bin) will be filled to the brim, overflowing and spilling onto the floor. All that remains on the desktop will be a telephone and a pad of paper. Your goal isn't to have a nice, neat, orderly desk. The desk is secondary. Your goal is to get organized so that you can convert time that's wasted during the course of a normal business day into time that can be used more efficiently and effectively. With a neat, orderly desk, you'll improve your follow-up systems so that you can do a better job of staying on top of all of your unfinished work. And when you can spend your time working on the tasks that are important, instead of the things that keep you busy, the quality of your work improves, and you make more money. A clean desk is the place where it all begins. So let's get started. Separating the Wheat from the Chaff (Or Is It the Pigs from the Cows?) The first step in getting organized is to separate the wheat from the chaff. So go through all of the papers on your desk, one piece at a time. * If a paper is important, put it in a keeper pile for the time being. * If a paper belongs to someone else, create a pile of things to give to your colleagues or coworkers. * If you don't need a paper any longer, put it in the recycling bin or throw it away! In the span of 20 to 30 minutes, you should be able to lighten your paper overload by more than half, and your wastebasket will soon be filled to the brim. If you're finding it difficult to part with some of your files or other papers at this time, just take them off your desk and put them in one of the drawers in your filing cabinet. This way, you've got the best of both worlds. If you need the materials at some future time, you know where to find them, and if you find that you don't need them, then you can throw them out in six months. Organize your keeper pile Now go through your keeper pile one piece of paper at a time. * If there's work to do, note it on your Master List , which is a things-to-do list that's written on a big piece of paper. (I'll be describing how you can use your Master List to take control of your workload and workday in Chapter 3.) * If you no longer need that particular piece of paper, throw it away. If you do need it, put it in a properly labeled file folder and file it away. * If a folder doesn't exist, create one. I'll talk about filing in a few moments. File the important stuff If you have papers or files you wish to keep but don't really need right now, file them away. There's no reason to leave them on the top of your desk any longer. Sort through all those other piles of paper in your office Now that you've gone through everything on your desk, continue the same process by going through the plies that have accumulated on your credenza, floor, and everywhere else. If there's work to do, note it on your Master List. If you need to keep a document, file it away; and if you don't need it any longer, throw it away! Don't reminisce or interrupt yourself While you're going through these papers, your objective is to sift, sort, and catalog each and every one of them. Don't allow yourself to get sidetracked from the task at hand. When you come across a note for a phone call that you were supposed to have returned sometime last week, don't drop everything to make that call. Just note it on your Master List and keep going. Or, when you find a memo that outlined a project you were supposed to be working on for the past few days but haven't yet begun, don't start now. And when you discover a copy of a letter that you recently sent to a client, customer, or prospect -- that's been sitting on your desk for a month -- just note on your Master List that you've got to make a phone call, and keep sifting and sorting. These documents are the items of business that you're looking for. You're going through your piles, one piece of paper at a time, so that you can create a list of everything that you need to do! While you're at It, Remove the Sticky Notes from the Wall Many of us use sticky notes in much the same way as we use our piles. They allow us to see what it is that we've got to do. When we need to remind ourselves that we've got something to do -- like write a letter, work on a proposal, or return a telephone call -- we jot down a brief note on this small piece of paper and stick it on the wall, computer, telephone, or anything else on which it may adhere. Isn't that the real reason we got computers? The problem with this system is that many of us fail to notice, or do anything about, the notes that we've written. The next few paragraphs outline a better way to take down notes. Write everything down -- on big pieces of paper The habit of jotting down a thought on a piece of paper is a very efficient way of remembering that you've got something to do. Putting things down on paper frees you from having to try to remember what those things are. Now you can use your wonderful brain power for something that is considerably more important. But when you write notes to yourself on small pieces of paper and then stick them on the wall, you begin to create problems. After you post more than a few of them, you tend to stop paying attention to any of them, and none of them appears to be of much importance. As a result, you ignore the note and forget the task. Even though you see these notes throughout the day, day after day, simply seeing the note doesn't provide you with the necessary motivation to do the task. So the notes remain attached to the wall, the work remains undone, and everything begins to back up. When there's work to do, such as making a phone call, writing a letter, or following up on something, note it on your Master List instead of a sticky note. A single piece of letter-sized paper, with about 25 lines, can hold the information of 25 sticky notes. Don't forget to file your notes The practice of taking detailed notes -- especially of your telephone conversations and meetings -- is a very good one. But when you don't place your notes inside a file folder along with all the other material on a specific subject or topic, there's the possibility that when you've got to make a business decision, you may not remember that you have this information. So when you take notes, place the paper in the appropriate file so that you can find it when you need it, and if there's work to do, note it on your Master List. Always date your papers. Every time you write something on a piece of paper, you should always put a date on it. This way you can see where things fell chronologically. Records of phone conversations and meetings become useless when you can't remember when they took place. (Continues...) Copyright © 1999 Jeffrey J. Mayer. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
So What's Exactly in This Book?p. 2
Part I Improve Your Time Management Systemp. 2
Part II Taking Care of Businessp. 2
Part III Improve Your Ability to Communicate Informationp. 2
Part IV Looking Out for #1p. 2
Part V Time Management on the Gop. 3
Part VI Technology and Time Managementp. 2
Part VII The Part of Tensp. 3
Icons Used in This Bookp. 3
Part I Improve Your Time Management Systemp. 5
Chapter 1 The Time Management Mind-Setp. 7
Become More Productive, Efficient, and Effective -- Not Just Busyp. 7
You've Got to Pace Yourselfp. 8
Testing Your Time Management Savvyp. 9
Chapter 2 Getting and Staying Organizedp. 13
You Can Save Yourself an Hour a Day By Getting Organizedp. 13
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff (Or Is It the Pigs from the Cows?)p. 14
While You're at It, Remove the Sticky Notes from the Wallp. 15
Dealing with Piles of Newspapers, Magazines, and Trade Journalp. 16
Set Up a Reading Filep. 17
Clean Out Your Desk Drawersp. 18
Use Expandable File Pockets Instead of Hanging Filesp. 18
What Does Your Briefcase Look Like?p. 18
Hard Drive Housecleaning, Anyone?p. 18
It's Easy to Stay Organizedp. 19
Clean Up Before You Go Home at the End of the Dayp. 19
Chapter 3 The World's Most Effective Follow-Up System: The Master Listp. 23
Oh Where Did I Put My Calendar?p. 24
But I Know Where Everything Isp. 25
An Efficient Follow-Up System Is the Key to Being Successful in the Business of Lifep. 25
What Is a Master List?p. 27
Getting the Most out of Your Master Listp. 28
Unfortunately, Your Master List Can't Do Everythingp. 31
So What Now?p. 32
Chapter 4 Taking Control: Using Your Daily Plannerp. 35
It's a To-Do List, a Calendar, and a Dessert Toppingp. 35
Making Your Daily Planner Work for Youp. 37
Daily Planners Do Have Limitationsp. 39
Chapter 5 ACT!ing Lessons, or Learn How to Put Your Daily Planner Inside Your Computerp. 45
Why I Chose ACT! for My Contact Management Programp. 46
What ACT! Can Do for Youp. 47
Part II Taking Care of Businessp. 61
Chapter 6 Do the Right Job at the Right Timep. 63
Planning Your Daily Activitiesp. 63
Planning Your Meetings, Your Appointments, and Your Dayp. 71
Chapter 7 Take Control of Your Business Appointmentsp. 83
Bring the Right Tools to Your Meetingsp. 83
Dress Appropriatelyp. 84
Always Check Your Briefcase Before You Leave the Officep. 84
Always Call Ahead to Confirm Your Appointmentsp. 85
Try Your Best to Be on Timep. 86
Call Ahead If You're Running Latep. 86
Make the Most of Your Waiting Room Timep. 87
Your Meeting Starts with a Smile and a Handshakep. 87
Sitting in the Right Seatp. 88
Managing Your Business Meetingsp. 90
Chapter 8 Maintain Control of Your Conversationsp. 97
You Get Information by Asking Questionsp. 97
Encourage the Other Person to Talkp. 98
Keeping a Tight Lip Yourselfp. 99
He (Or She) Who Asks the Questions Controls the Conversationp. 99
The Art of Asking Questionsp. 99
Tips for Being a Brilliant Conversationalistp. 104
Chapter 9 Helping People Make Decisions . . . Fasterp. 107
Your Objective Is to Get the Person to Say "Yes"p. 108
Who Makes the Decisions?p. 110
Handle Objections Effectivelyp. 113
After "Yes," the Fun Begins: You Start Negotiatingp. 119
Part III Improve Your Ability to Communicate Informationp. 127
Chapter 10 Make the Telephone Your Friendp. 129
How Do You Come Across on the Phone?p. 129
What Is the Purpose of the Call?p. 132
Knowing When to Callp. 133
Getting through to Your Partyp. 133
Take Notes of the Conversationp. 134
How to Call a Strangerp. 134
Dealing with Incoming Callsp. 137
Picking Out the Right Cell Phonep. 141
Getting More Out of Your Telephonep. 146
Chapter 11 Increase Your Productivity with Voice Mailp. 151
Why Use Voice Mail?p. 151
Don't Leave Your Callers in Voice Mail Jailp. 152
Personalize Your Greetingp. 153
Tips for Leaving Voice Mail Messagesp. 154
Dealing with Message Overloadp. 156
Chapter 12 Write More Effective Correspondencep. 159
Who Is Your Audience?p. 159
Good Writing Isn't Easyp. 160
Write Better Lettersp. 163
Chapter 13 The Ins and Outs of E-Mail (Or Is It the Ups and Downs?)p. 169
Writing Your E-Mail Messagep. 169
But I Get Too Much E-Mailp. 174
Be Careful with the Freedom of E-Mailp. 175
Protect Yourself Against E-Mail Break-Insp. 175
Save Important Informationp. 177
Using Your E-Mail Softwarep. 177
Receiving Your E-Mail When You're away from Your Computerp. 180
Getting Free E-Mailp. 181
Sending E-Mail Messages to Many Peoplep. 181
Dealing with Spamp. 181
Part IV Looking Out for #1p. 185
Chapter 14 Making Winning Presentationsp. 187
A Presentation Is a Showp. 187
Use Pictures, Graphics, and Charts to Enhance Your Presentationp. 194
What Handouts Do You Want to Leave Behind?p. 195
Make the Meeting Room Speaker-Friendlyp. 196
Arranging the Tables (And Chairs)p. 198
Some Additional Things to Think Aboutp. 199
How Well Did You Do?p. 200
Chapter 15 Promote Yourselfp. 203
Collect Testimonial Lettersp. 203
Have You Been Quoted in a Newspaper or Magazine?p. 205
Writing, Anyone?13t205
Start Your Own Newsletterp. 206
Promote Yourself through Public Speakingp. 207
Don't Forget to Pass Out Your Business Cardsp. 209
Take Other People's Business Cardsp. 209
The Art of Networkingp. 212
Promoting Yourself on a Web Sitep. 214
Promoting Yourself with E-Mailp. 225
Chapter 16 Do the Right Things and You'll Get the Right Resultsp. 231
Sweat the Detailsp. 231
Be Smarter Than the Next Guy or Galp. 232
Do the Things That Are Importantp. 232
Live in the Here and Nowp. 232
Set Activity Goalsp. 233
Chapter 17 A Winning Attitude and Good Work Habits Are the Keys to Successp. 239
You Need Good Work Habitsp. 239
Challenge Yourselfp. 240
Expand Your Horizonsp. 241
Take Responsibility for the Things You Dop. 241
Surround Yourself with Successful Peoplep. 241
Be the Best You That You Can Bep. 242
Make the Most of Your Timep. 242
Part V Time Management on the Gop. 245
Chapter 18 Setting Up Your Home Officep. 247
Where Should I Put My Home Office?p. 247
You Need Filing and Storage Spacep. 249
Good Lighting Makes You More Productivep. 250
What Are Your Telephone Needs?p. 251
Who's Going to Answer Your Telephone?p. 253
Getting the Right Internet Connection Saves You Timep. 255
Additional Equipment for Your Home Office That Will Make You More Productivep. 257
Chapter 19 Creating a Healthy Work Environmentp. 265
Be Nice to Your Handsp. 265
Energize Your Bodyp. 266
Automate Your Keystrokes with Macrosp. 267
Position Your Hands Properly on the Keyboardp. 267
Do Your Hands Hurt? Then Try a Different Keyboardp. 268
Position Your Monitor so That You Don't Have to Lean Forwardp. 269
A Footrest Improves Your Circulationp. 270
Tired of Mousing? Get a Trackballp. 270
Does Your Back Hurt? Then Get a New Chairp. 271
Chapter 20 Planning Your Business Tripp. 273
Writing an Itineraryp. 273
Purchasing Your Ticketp. 273
Making Your Hotel Reservationp. 275
Using the Internet to Plan Your Tripp. 275
Remembering to Bring Moneyp. 277
Packing Your Luggagep. 278
Getting to the Airportp. 283
Checking in at the Airportp. 283
Reducing Stress on the Airplanep. 286
Staying Comfortable on the Flightp. 287
Getting Your Bags after Your Flightp. 289
Renting a Carp. 290
Keeping in Touch with the Folks Back Homep. 290
Traveling with Your Computerp. 291
Protecting Yourself While You're Travelingp. 294
Traveling to Foreign Countriesp. 297
Part VI Technology and Time Managementp. 309
Chapter 21 Getting More Out of Your Computerp. 311
If You're Still Using a 486 or An Early Pentium, It's Time to Replace It!p. 312
If You Need More Disk Space, Get a New Hard Drive Your Screen Redraws Faster with a New Video Cardp. 314
Improve Your Vision with a New Monitorp. 315
Your Computer Runs Faster When You Add More Memoryp. 316
Improve Your Productivity by Upgrading Your Softwarep. 316
Get Yourself a Fast Modemp. 316
Bells and Whistles for Your Next Computerp. 317
Chapter 22 Handheld Personal Computers: The New Time Management Toolp. 321
PalmPilotp. 321
sharp's HC-4600 Color Mobilonp. 323
Franklin REX PRO PC Companionp. 324
Chapter 23 Software That Will Save You Timep. 327
Corel WordPerfectp. 327
ACT!p. 328
DAZzlep. 328
Quickenp. 329
QuickBooksp. 329
Adobe's PageMakerp. 329
AddressGrabberp. 330
ClipMatep. 330
Chapter 24 Keeping Your Computer Healthyp. 333
Norton Utilities Keeps Your Computer Healthyp. 333
Protect Your Computer from Virusesp. 335
Clean Up Your Hard Drivep. 336
Delete Your Automatic Backup Filesp. 337
Back Up Your Datap. 338
Part VII The Part of Tensp. 343
Chapter 25 Ten Tips for a Top-Notch Filing systemp. 345
Use File Foldersp. 345
Collate Your File Foldersp. 345
Label Your Filesp. 346
Write Your File Labels by Handp. 346
File Labels Should Read Like the Telephone Directorp. 346
Get Rid of Your Hanging Foldersp. 346
Use Expandable File Pocketsp. 347
Organize Your Filesp. 347
Work from Your File Foldersp. 347
Chapter 26 Ten Timesaving Tips for Getting More out of Technical Supportp. 349
Chapter 27 Ten Ways to Make the Most of Your Commuting Timep. 351
Indexp. 353
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