Have you ever been on a conference call and waited several
minutes after the start time of the meeting to actually begin?
What if each time a person joins late, the host stops
and provides a catch-up summary? Is that fair to people who joined on
time? How about meetings that extend beyond the scheduled end time
with no regard for what anyone else may have scheduled next? I’ve been
in all of the above, in each of these roles: on time, late, host, and guest.
As the host, I finally made a commitment to start the meeting on time
and end on time. Commitment is a critical skill in time management. I
realized I needed to be more committed with several factors of my time
management. By committing myself to building better habits, I found
that others started to practice similar techniques.
Understand your own commitment level. Be fully invested in
improving your time management skills, and be respectful of others’
time, as well. Think of examples in which you must commit and start
to create the right actions and habits. Here are some examples:
• Commit to start and end times you set for yourself. If you said
you would spend an hour on a project, stick to that time. If
you’re not done with a task, set up a new time to complete it.
• The same holds true as the host of a meeting. Start on time
and end on time. In a meeting, you may want to say, “Out of
respect for everyone’s time, we’re going to get started.” It’s not
always easy, but many times we enable the process. With every
new late attendee who joins, we do a quick recap. As much
as we want everyone on the same page, it makes the meeting
inefficient and is disrespectful to those who did join on time.
You can offer to catch them up after the call or have them
read the meeting minutes, but it’s important to try to limit the
constant recaps for the late arrivers.
• As the end of a meeting approaches, you may want to say, “I see
we only have a few minutes remaining. We’ll end the meeting
and cover the rest at the next meeting,” or set up a new time
to finish that works for everyone. Going beyond the end time
has a downstream effect for many. Showing respect for other
people’s calendars builds the right habits for everyone. Be
committed to making it happen.
Stay focused on doing what you set out to do, starting by sticking to
what you allotted for time on your calendar. This will keep you on task,
build a strong time management reputation for you, and ultimately
save time for not only yourself, but others. Looking back at incidents
when you let time drift or found yourself not committing to what you
set out to do will provide you with a good snapshot of what needs to
change and what new habits to establish.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood