Our Small Business Development committee really enjoyed a presentation by Stephanie Wachman, Executive & Productivity Coach, Author and Speaker on January 24th and we felt she might have other great tips and hints for Lawyers and Business people alike in our community.

Stephanie Wachman of Own Your Time® spoke with Mary-Frances Main about business organization.

MF: What do you find is the biggest time waster for business people?

SW: The biggest time waster I see when working with business people is the frequency in which they check their email and social media. Research was recently conducted that found that most business people receive on average 189 emails per day and check their inbox roughly 86 times per day. They also found that some of us check our social media posts every 6 minutes. This major distraction costs us 100s of hours every year so figuring out a way to manage how often we are actually looking at our phones or checking our email can save us lots of time.

MF: You highlight running meetings as one of your areas you help with. What are your top suggestions for an efficient meeting?

SW: The first rule is to ask if this meeting actually needs to happen?  Very often we have meeting and invite more people then really need to be involved.  I recommend to my clients that they be very intentional about who is invited.  Next I recommend always setting an agenda for a meeting with time allotments for each speaker.  Typically meetings should not run past 45 minutes- and someone should facilitate and manage the clock to ensure all topics are covered. Finally it is very important to follow-up a meeting with action items- and deadlines when possible.

MF Any tips for prioritizing daily tasks?

SW: When I work with business professionals I always recommend prioritization from 2 approaches. The first is from the perspective of your energy. If you are a morning person it’s really effective to use that energy for client meetings, reviewing highly important documents and proposals etc. and save the more mundane tasks for a time in the day when your energy is lower. Secondly I like to prioritize around revenue generation. Ask yourself if the task you are about to do will generate revenue for yourself and your company or prevent the loss of revenue for yourself and your company. In my book OWN your Time, I have other ideas and models on prioritization around Deadlines and Urgency depending on your day.

MF: Your website says you help clients think outside the box. What’s the most unique solution you’ve come up with for time management?

SW: Brain Dumping.  Many of my clients have adopted the habit of buying the funkiest, loudest and goofiest notebooks they can find and use it to download ideas that pop up in their head that are distractions.  The goofier the better so it’s always noticeable and never gets lost in sea of other papers.  I prefer this method to taking notes on my phone, because as soon as I pick up my phone I start checking email, text etc.  The notebook functions really well, for example I will sometimes be working on a proposal and then suddenly remember that I need to buy toothpaste, by keeping my funky notebook nearby I can jot down what I need to buy without worrying that I’ll forget.  The extra worry is a mental distraction that reduces my productivity.

For more on Stephanie, visit her website at: www.stephaniewachman.com