Time is the only non-recoverable thing that each of us controls. We waste it, it’s forever lost.

We waste our customers’/prospects’ time, we’ve cheated them out of their most precious commodity.

We let our customers/prospects waste ours—we’ve enabled them to de-value us and what we can do to help them.

Ironically, we seem to treat time in quite the opposite way. We act as though time is a renewable resource.

We don’t take the time to plan/prepare, but we always find the time to do the rework or recover what we should have done.

We over schedule, don’t schedule, wander aimlessly through unstructured days. Perhaps reacting to what happens, rather than proactively driving what we need to achieve.

I’m obsessive about how I spend my time and that of my customers and colleagues. They laugh, they say they can set their watches based on when I call or start a meeting. At the same time, we all value it—we train ourselves in “good habits,” we get stuff done!

Whenever possible, even for prospecting calls, I suggest an agenda in advance. I know I always prepare and am intent on accomplishing a lot in the time we’ve chosen to invest in each other. I want my customers and colleagues to be as prepared—not only for me, but for them. If they aren’t, then we have to schedule a follow up, taking more time……

(You can see where I’m going.)

Every once in a while we all slip, for good and bad reasons. In the past 3 days, I’ve missed 2 calls—because I was scheduling things too tightly, I didn’t allow enough time between meetings. As a result, I wasted the time of several people and we now have to invest time to reschedule.

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend. He was describing a client who didn’t value my friend’s time. He started the meeting late, he interrupted the meeting for calls, he constantly responded to texts. Ironically, this client wanted my friend’s help in improving his performance and that of the organization. This was the second meeting my friend had with this executive, the first was the same. My friend, realized this executive had no respect for anyone’s time—my friend’s, his own, and those of his people. My friend decided his time was more valuable, that he was unlikely to be able to help this executive, so he declined the opportunity to advise them.

We, unfortunately and unconsciously. commit ourselves to wasting our and others’ time everyday. We are wed to our devices, every vibration, chirp, interruption. Studies show we are distracted hundreds to thousands of time a day, having a cumulative impact of more than 2 hours a day of lost time.

We accomplish less because we simply aren’t present, we aren’t paying attention. And while we might “recover” through more and more meetings and reschedules, we are wasting time. We could use that wasted time to accomplish more.

Please, take a few moments to do a self-assessment.

  1. Where do you waste time every day?
  2. Are you as prepared as possible, for every meeting, to use your and others’ time as productively as possible?
  3. Are you asking them to value your time and to be prepared as well?
  4. Are you eliminating distractions—being present in whatever you are doing—whether in a meeting, or trying to accomplish a specific task?
  5. Do you refuse to let others de-value your time?

Perhaps, it a tragic event to wake us up. Over the past few years, I’ve had a few friends in the final phases of their lives. They have cancer or some other disease. They know they may only have weeks or months to live. It’s amazing to see how they manage their time—each moment is precious, each moment is valued, not a second is wasted.

Why does it take something like that to make us more conscious of our own behaviors?

Enough said, I’ve taken enough of your time, I hope it hasn’t been wasted.

SOURCEPartners in Excellence
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Dave Brock
Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.

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