All during the 15 plus years that I worked as an executive assistant to CEO’s and Presidents of large corporations and small companies, I observed they all had several things in common. One in particular was, every day they would close their office door and instruct that they not be disturbed – no visitors, no phone calls. This period of time would usually last for an hour, sometimes more, sometimes less. This was their quiet time.
If you are practicing this habit, you probably would say this is the most productive time in your day. If you do not take quiet time, you are missing one of the greatest techniques of time management.
There are many ways to use quiet time – working on a speech, writing a report or an article, planning for future business, identifying short and long term goals, designing a marketing strategy, preparing an estimate or contract, or catching up on paperwork. It is a time to review your goals and lay out a plan to accomplish them.
Quiet time is best utilized during your most productive time of the day. Schedule the time in your planner, at least one hour. It is an appointment you keep with yourself and are just as committed to as an appointment with someone else.
Occasionally, circumstances or events will overrun your quiet time. That’s okay. Try to plug that time into your schedule later in the day. That’s the beauty of allowing flex time in your daily schedule (a subject for another article).
If you do not have an office door to close, quiet time is still possible. Let phone calls go to voice mail or ask someone near you to take your calls during that time. Do them the same favor during their quiet time.
When others approach you to talk or visit, politely explain that you are concentrating on a very important project, and could you get back to them later. In most cases this works just fine. After a while, others will recognize when not to disturb you. You can also tack a Do Not Disturb sign on the entrance to your work area.
Quiet time is a very effective tool in your workbox. By committing to quiet time every day, you are being proactive, and taking control of how to make the best use of your time, which is a part of being organized.
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