20 Great Actionable Time Saving Ideas

Andy Bounds, author of The Jelly Effect: How to Make Your Communications Stick, recently passed me on some great time saving ideas.

As he says the most common grumble in business: “I don’t have time.”

So he has twenty ways to change how you communicate, to free-up loads of time.

All are easy. All will save you time. But which will you do?

  1. Don’t have 30- or 60-minute meetings.  Instead, make them a maximum of 20 or 45. Even shorter, whenever possible
  2. Review last week’s diary, and identify all the things that took longer than they needed to.  Then, make sure you don’t let them overrun next week
  3. Make sure every single one of your communications ends with a Call To Action.  That way, there’ll always be actions!  And…
  4. … If you can’t think what action you want someone to take as a result of a communication, don’t do the communication
  5. Start your prep with the Call To Action – ‘what do I want them to do after they’ve heard this?’ Then create a shorter communication, focused only on getting them to do it (less background; more direction)
  6. Have fewer face-to-face meetings. Have Telephone Meetings instead
  7. Stop emailing.  Pick up the phone
  8. If someone asks you to prepare a communication for them, ask them upfront what headings they want in it.  That way, you’re creating what they want, not guessing
  9. Decline meetings that you don’t need/want to go to…
  10. … Instead, consider meeting with the Owner 121; and give her your thoughts then.  Much more likely to be listened to.  Much less time spent
  11. Have fewer people in your meetings.  You’ll make decisions more quickly
  12. Diarise Meeting #2 during Meeting #1.  Miles quicker than trying to arrange it when you aren’t together – that just results in painful Email Tennis
  13. Do hard things early.  People get less effective as the day goes on – and they’re extra-dreadful straight after lunch.  So do your tricky stuff first thing – when your brain’s flying
  14. If someone isn’t replying to your emails, try a different method – send them a text/call them instead
  15. Identify which colleague is best at getting lots done quickly.  Ask their advice for how they do it
  16. Identify which of your comms absorb most of your time.  Contact the recipient, and agree ways to make it shorter
  17. At the end of each day, review everything you’ve done, and make sure you’ve completed all your follow-up actions.  Or diarised when you’ll do them.  Much quicker than not following-up
  18. For regular internal meetings, reduce something – frequency, duration, number of attendees, agenda items…anything
  19. With longer emails, contact the recipient upfront, chat with them first, and get verbal agreement.  Your email will then become a shorter confirmation of what you’ve just agreed, rather than trying to get agreement by Email Tennis
  20. Have a later lunch.  Most people are better before lunch than afterwards.  So, eat later.  You get a longer, productive pre-lunch.  And a shorter graveyard shift

As said above…

All are easy. All will save you time. But which will you do?

Action point

Identify which of these tips will (1) save you most time and (2) be really easy to do.

Then just do it!

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