Let me start off by saying that I am a fan of Tim Ferriss’ “The Four Hour Work Week.”  I have listened to this multiple times and have taken a lot away from his ideas. Not everything that he recommends is for me as I am in a very different place than his target audience, but there are so many good lessons and ways of thinking that I recommend the book to all of my friends.

I expect that many of you have read Tim’s blog post “The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now.” I like this as well. Let me give you my perspective. I think it will be helpful.

  1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers.
    • completely agree with this one. The phone can be a major distraction and can take away precious time.
      • Only answer when you need to talk to the person calling or are willing to be interrupted.
      • If someone calls from a number that you don’t know, it is likely not someone that you don’t know:)
      • Voicemail is perfectly designed for calls that you are not ready to take. When you have time, you can go back, listen and take the appropriate action.
  2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
    • completely agree with this one. E-mail can be a time sink.  Be careful here.
      • I know too many people who are consumed with email. Every time an email comes in, they get notified, stop what they are doing and read the email. There are so many problems that I have written an ebook about time management. But back on topic.
      • First thing in the morning is your creative time. Don’t waste it by reading email. You can do that later.
      • And nighttime is to rest so that you can be ready for the next day. Reading email will restart your brain and impact your sleep.
    • Spend first thing in the morning doing something creative. Your brain is ready for it!
  3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time.
    • I only partially agree.
      • There are some meetings where an agenda is limiting.
      • Calls from your boss, peers, or subordinates can be time sensitive. They typically do not send an agenda. Take the call.
    • What this is all about is using your limited time wisely. The way to do this is to “train” your peers and subordinates (and your boss if possible) to use your time wisely. Make them summarize the purpose of the call or meeting. If you are not required, let them know that you trust them to do the right thing.
  4. Do not let people ramble.
    • I only partially agree.
      • Not everyone is the same. Not everyone is concise. Sometimes it takes a bit of wondering to get to or make the point. Use your best judgment.
  5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only.
    • completely agree.
      • I mentioned this earlier, but e-mail can be a time sink. The right approach is to batch your time to work on email. Schedule a couple of times each day.
      • Just in case you are unclear as to why it is critical to follow this rule – it is all about switching costs. Reading your email constantly takes a tremendous amount of time away from being productive purely due to the switching cost of moving from one task to another.
    • In addition to doing this, consider adopting the Inbox 0 model. That is – empty your email at least once a day. I cover this in detail in my time management ebook.
  6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers.
    • completely agree.
      • I would generalize this. Don’t over-communicate with any company or person that is a low performer.
    • Consider the ROI on your time. You will realize that it is best to spend your time with the high performers.
  7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize.
    • I completely agree.
      • This is what most people mean by don’t work harder, work smarter. While that sounds insulting (yea, I am working stupid…), it primarily means is prioritize.
    • I would add this to delegate – if you are in a position to do so.
  8. Do not carry a cell phone or Crackberry 24/7.
    • completely agree.
      • This is primarily the combination of the e-mail and phone call topics. It is your time, manage it wisely.
      • BTW – does anyone still have a Blackberry? If so, really…?!?!
    • There are many other things that people often do that take time. Some examples are Facebook, News, Youtube, and games. Be aware of how much time this is taking!
  9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.
    • I do not agree.
      • You should find the right work / personal life balance.  This differs from person to person but regardless of the split that you feel comfortable with – you need this balance.
      • Once you have found balance, it is absolutely ok for work to provide you with relationships, activities, and other enjoyable aspects of life.

There you go. Let me know what you think!

Categories: Leadership


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