Effective Time Management for High Achievers, Part 6

Chapter 9: Productivity Hour

Congratulations! If you have had the persistence to
stay with this behavior modification program to this
point, you are reaping many of the rewards of effective
time management. High achievers following the program
in detail are usually reporting an additional four
to eight hours of productive time per week. While this
is a tremendous benefit, there is still room for improvement.
As you are aware, high achievers seldom give themselves
the chance to slow down and collect their
thoughts. This trait can be hazardous to an effective
time management program. It is well worth the effort
to regularly stop and review performance and assess
the results.

The productivity hour will provide a regularly scheduled
time period for you to review your schedule, take
care of your personal business, and to provide some
‘think time’ to catch up on all of those great ideas that
have not been implemented yet. After all, now that
you have discovered several hours of time per week,
shouldn’t you be using that time to your ultimate benefit?
Process

1. Schedule one hour per day that will be uninterrupted,
call this time your ‘productivity hour’. Try
to schedule the time toward the middle of the day
and when your coworkers, clients, and family are
less likely to interrupt you. Schedule your productivity
hour for at least one-month in advance so
you will not be inclined to schedule anything else
during this period.

2. Send a memo or email, or schedule a meeting to
inform your coworkers that you will not be available
for anything other than critical organizational issues
during your productivity hour.

3. Do not accept any new tasks, meetings or unsolicited

telephone calls during your productivity
hour. Be firm about enforcing your productivity
hour. You will find that using this time for your own
review and ‘think time’ will generate creative ideas
that will improve your performance beyond anything
you have experienced before. The productivity
hour is a key factor in truly using an effective
time management program to benefit yourself and
your organization.

Example:

Chapter 10: Interruptions

Interruptions are often the effective time manager’s
most severe problem. Not only do interruptions distract
attention from the task at hand, they also provide
an excellent reason not to do what is scheduled when
the high achiever would rather procrastinate than
perform.

Your time is yours; it is nobody else’s. You have the
option to use your time to the fullest, or choose to
waste your time. The point is, you control your own
time, and because you are in control it means that you
do not have to put up with somebody else wasting it
for you. If you are truly performing the primary duties
of your job function and family responsibilities, and
are prioritizing your tasks appropriately, you should
feel absolutely no guilt for disallowing unproductive
distractions. Because your schedule is designed to accomplish
all the tasks you need to do for your organization

and family, it is a forgone conclusion that anybody
interrupting you from achieving success is a detriment
to your organization and family.

At this stage in your behavior modification program
you have effectively taken control of your schedule
and organization. You have also effectively developed
a system for determining the importance of tasks and
the order in which they will be completed. You have
also invested the necessary time to be a contributing
member of your organization and family through ‘think
time’. It is now the time to make the final
commitment to take control of your entire
schedule.

Process

1. If individuals interrupt you in the workplace
try using the following tactic. Most
interruptions can be avoided by simply
asking the individual leading the interruption
to come back in 10 minutes when you
can give them your undivided attention.
Amazingly, most of the time the individual
will never return because they will answer
their own question or seek assistance from
someone else. If they do return, make sure
to get the task in writing as discussed previously,
then put the task in your in box and deal with it the
next time you schedule the in box items.

2. Urgent interruptions can be very distracting. Often
times, urgent interruptions are not important. Try
using the tactic above, if that does not work, take
the time to show the individual interrupting how
to figure out the answer on their own. This tactic
does initially take some time to do; however it will
eliminate future interruptions. Additionally, you
may be able to use this individual as a delegation
resource in the future if someone else has the same
question: you will be able to send him or her to the
individual already trained rather than handling it
yourself.

3. Client interruptions cannot be avoided in many
cases. High achievers that need to deal with the
client as a priority for their job description find it is
necessary to schedule for the interruptions. That
means schedule extra time into each task item with
the assumption that you will be interrupted on a

regular basis to handle client needs. However, do
not use this extra time to handle any priority other
than client needs.

4. Unavoidable interruptions are a reality of the world
in which we live. When these interruptions happen,
simply reschedule the tasks that were previously
scheduled and handle the unexpected urgent and
important priority. This is a wonderful tool because
it allows the high achiever to always feel confident
that all tasks will eventually be completed. Electronic
scheduling software makes it simple to juggle
tasks around when unavoidable interruptions
do occur and cause a ripple in the schedule.

5. Interruptions can pile up at times. In these situations
your previously scheduled time management
efforts for the day can be totally destroyed. Do not
allow this to depress you. Simply take ten minutes
and regroup. Go through the tasks and reschedule
them according to priority. Remember that you are
always in control of your time management efforts:
even when situations seem out of control.

6. Stay focused regardless of an interruption. Several
methods of dealing with interruptions have been
outlined here. You probably have your own set of
tactics as well. Above all, stay focused on the task
at hand rather than trying to do a dozen things all
at once. The only thing that happens when you diversify
your attention is to delay the completion of
all the tasks simultaneously. Take care of one thing
at a time and focus on it until it is complete. If you
cannot complete the task, then schedule another
time to complete the task at a later date.

7. Allow only one project on your desk at a time. Distractions
caused by paperwork stacks and project
files can be worse than individuals interrupting
you. Get all that paperwork off your desk so you
can focus on the project at hand. The only items
on your desk should include the task being worked
on; everything else should be scheduled and filed
away, or in your in box waiting for your next in box
review.

Chapter 11: Commitment

As mentioned in the beginning of this guide, many
high achievers have tremendous success with this time
management program. If you are not encountering

similar results there are only two possibilities. First, you
are already an excellent time manager. Second, the
commitment to make this life-altering change is not
there.

There is nothing to be ashamed of if you simply do
not feel the need to improve your time management
performance to the level of a star performer. For
most people the pressure associated with being a
high achieving star performer is overwhelming and is
not beneficial to their mental health or personal lives.
However, if you are serious about making the most of
your time and abilities, this commitment must be given
the utmost effort. It is not an exaggeration to state that
effective time management will impact every part of
your life – forever. Imagine making an extra four hours
a week for your family: over the course of one year that
will add up to 208 hours!

Keep your commitment strong. Revisit the action
plans developed throughout this behavior modification
program to remind yourself of the effort needed
to succeed. Do not get lazy with time management
efforts, even if things seem to be going extremely well.
Time management is a continual effort – you will never
be able to stop consciously prioritizing, scheduling and
revising. This is a lifetime commitment.

If you stray from the program you can get back on the
program within a couple of hours. Simply follow all
the steps we have gone through from the beginning of
this guide. Know that this time management effort will
benefit your life to great levels. Know that you will be a
better performer as a direct result of this time management
program. You will be successful.

Chapter 12: Rewards

As you know, this time management program is not
easy. It is a serious behavior modification program for
high achievers that are serious about their success. Not
everyone can master this system. However, the high
achievers that do master the program are star performers.
Performance deserves rewards. When you accomplish
the behaviors of the effective time manager,
you should be rewarded as well. Already you will be
rewarded with more productive time and the feeling
of being in control of your schedule. You will also be
rewarded every time you have the opportunity to
delete one of those tasks that was just completed.
While these rewards are terrific and ongoing, perhaps
it would be a prime opportunity to really give yourself
a reward for making the commitment and sticking
with this very difficult program until your behaviors are
changed permanently. After all, this is a life-changing
program!

Wouldn’t it be a great idea to set a goal to affect permanent
change in your time management behavior?
An action plan with measurements to determine
lasting results would be an excellent tool for proving
success in this regard. Perhaps this is the perfect
opportunity to reward you performance with a family
vacation, a new car, or perhaps a fantastic new gizmo
you have had your eye on for some time.

Reward your success: you deserve it. You have
achieved a level of productivity that most people will
only dream about their entire lives. Congratulations to
you and may you have many more successes in your
future. Of course, you are bound to have many more
successes now that you are an effective time manager.