Take back your time and discover how to work best with people

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I think we would all agree on the importance of making time for people at work. Good salespeople do this well because they understand good communication builds understanding and trust. If the customer trusts the salesperson, business is made.

Why is it we insist salespeople develop this skill, but we don’t make time for it ourselves? We think we’re communicating by sending emails; but more often than not they’re rushed, causing misunderstandings. The recipient emails back with more questions, you sigh with frustration and email again, and so the ping-pong email chain begins. It is this that is the real thief of time, not making time for people.

People use the phrase ‘spend time’. Time cannot be put on a shelf and used tomorrow. We cannot shorten or lengthen time. We cannot even work harder and earn more of it. It is not time we need to manage but ourselves, to learn to manage how and where we focus our attention.

People who are successful at managing their lives work in a very different way. Here are some symptoms that may be indicative you’re trying to manage time rather than yourself:

You’re overwhelmed with workload

You’re trying to work harder

Emails are running your day

You have a last-minute approach to work

One of the first things I do with all my clients is to shift their paradigm about time.

The first step is to prioritise time in their schedule to think. Friday afternoon is most practical and just 20 minutes is all it takes. Turn off your mobile and emails. Review the week just finished and review the week ahead. Write down and capture ideas, wants, needs and outcomes needed by the end of the following week. Who do you need to communicate with?

Second, block out time in your diary to speak with key people who’ll make a difference in achieving the outcomes you need.

And third, instead of emailing, use the phone, video or short, focused walk-and-talk meetings.

The solution is that simple: prioritise time to think and work with people. Before you know it, you’ll be working smarter. And as Thomas Edison said: “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose”.

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