5 Practices to Free Your Time

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February 13, 2021
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February 13, 2021

5 Practices to Free Your Time

Free Your Time

A few lawyers finally figured out time travel.

I was just listening to The Legal Seagull podcast, hosted by my friend Neer Lerner. He notes in his recent episode on unethical attorney billing that a few lawyers have actually documented more than 24 hours of work on a single day.

It’s disappointing that people set aside all the potential fun of time travel just to work more.

If you still don’t have your time machine working, here’s what you can do in the meantime to free your time.

Do Some B Work

Awhile back I had a chat with a client about management strategy. He said that a lot of his newer managers expected perfection too much. His belief was that “B” work was often just fine.

A classic adage in economics is that “good enough is best.” Why spend half a day on PowerPoint graphics for a presentation when 30 minutes will do just fine?

A lot of us in the CFL community are well educated (40% of us have graduate degrees) so it’s ingrained in a lot of us turn in “A” work.

What are you giving “A” effort to this week where “B” effort will do just fine? Spend the extra time on the things that really rate “A” work.

Some inspiration: Are You Building A Lexus When A Prius Will Do?

No, Lady Gaga

Speaking of economics, every commitment we make has opportunity cost. That’s fancy economist-speak for the reality that if you say yes to do something, you’re saying no to everything else you could have done with that time (ouch).

Tim Harford wrote an article on the power of saying no. It involves economists, marriage, love letters, and Lady Gaga. Even if you say no to Gaga, say yes to this short, smart read.

There’s Hummus on My Keyboard

When I started working for Dale Carnegie, my boss at the time cautioned me not to do business at lunch meetings. In his experience, a lot of time and money was wasted over lunch.

I occasionally ignored the advice and almost always regretted it. Constant interruptions from servers, food, and other diners made business conversations tough. Even the best lunch meetings could have been done in a fraction of the time (and expense) elsewhere.

Turns out this is not only smart advice, but trendy too. Of course you follow Coaching for Leaders to be trendy, yes?

Know Why You’re There

Jennifer Deal from the Center for Creative Leadership appeared on the show last year to help us to find the time to turn off work. Her best piece of advice:

If someone invites me to a meeting and I’m not perfectly clear on why I’m supposed to be there, I ask.

I get it that when the CEO of your company sets a meeting with you, of course you’re not going to ask her why you’re needed. But for lots of other meetings, this is a helpful practice.

It also requires the courage to say “no” when the need for your involvement isn’t clear. The notes from our chat provide even more suggestions.

Create Good Alliances

When we launched the Carnegie Coach podcast back in the fall, my colleague Aaron Kent joined me for a chat about how to create effective business alliances.

You can waste tons of time in business by creating alliances with the wrong people and organizations. Aaron’s developed a three-tier strategy to use anytime he’s considering a new business alliance.

A ton of time and money is saved by saying “great to know you, but no thanks,” to the wrong opportunity. Consider these three elements when determining if a new alliance is worth your time and effort.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Monday’s Show

People don’t want to do a bad job.

187: Community Questions on Coaching, Accountability & Wisdom

Sadly, Bonni and I found no reason to disagree on this month’s Q&A show. However, we did handle questions on how to strike up a conversation, coach people in other cultures, provide accountability, and start a business.

The full audio and notes with all the resources we mentioned are on the Coaching for Leaders website.

And if you, like me, can’t imagine going a full month without hearing from her, check out her weekly Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, a podcast for faculty who want to become better teachers.

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