Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets.
—Motivational speaker Nido Qubein
The key to your success is the strategic management of your time. Most of the really important work you do requires large chunks of unbroken time. Your organizational skills and ability to carve out these blocks of highly productive time is central to your ability to make a significant contribution to your work.
Successful salespeople, for example, set aside a specific time period each day to phone prospects. Rather than procrastinating about a task that they don’t particularly like, these people resolve to sit down and make phone calls for one solid hour each day. And they discipline themselves to follow through on their resolutions.
Many business executives set aside a specific time each day to call customers directly to ask for feedback, return phone calls or answer correspondence. Some successful people allocate specific time periods each day for physical exercise. Many successful people read great books 15 minutes each night before retiring. In this way, over time, they eventually read dozens of the best books ever written.
Working in specific time segments throughout your day requires scheduling fixed time periods for particular activities or tasks. Make work appointments with yourself and then discipline yourself to keep them. Set aside 30-, 60- and 90-minute time segments to work on and complete important tasks.
Many highly productive people schedule specific activities in preplanned time slots throughout the day. These people build their work lives around accomplishing key tasks one at a time. As a result, they become more and more productive and eventually produce two times, three times, five times as much as the average person.
Successful people use time planners. A time planner, broken down by day, hour and minute and organized in advance, can be one of the most powerful, personal productivity tools of all. It enables you to see where you can consolidate and create blocks of time for concentrated work.
During this working time, turn off the telephone, eliminate all distractions and work without stopping. One of the best work habits of all is to get up early and work at home for several hours. You can get three times as much work done at home without interruptions as you can at a busy office surrounded by people and bombarded by calls.
Organize to make every minute count. When you fly for business, you can create an “office in the air” by planning your work before you depart. When the plane takes off, you can work nonstop for the entire flight. You will be amazed at how much work you can accomplish on an airplane when you work steadily without interruptions.
One of the keys to high levels of performance and productivity is to make every minute count. Use travel and transition time, often called “gifts of time,” to complete small chunks of larger tasks.
Remember: The pyramids of Egypt were built one block at a time. And a great career is built one task — and often, one part of one task — at a time. Your challenge is to organize the concentrated time periods you require to get your key jobs done well and on schedule.
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Brian Tracy is the CEO of Brian Tracy International, which specializes in business training, and the author of the best-selling Psychology of Achievement. For more information, go to www.briantracy.com.