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8 Rules Successful People Live By to Make Their Time Well Spent

8 Rules Successful People Live By to Make Their Time Well Spent

Always short on time and behind on tasks? Is your productivity getting affected since there are only 24 hours in a day? Then what you need are effective time management skills perfected by the biggies of the corporate and celebrity world. For these are the people who manage to do so much more, in the same amount of time as everybody else.

One View Successful People Commonly Share — Time Is the Most Valuable Commodity

Successful people know that time is as essential and valuable a commodity as is money – so they use it wisely and well. Time that is wasted can never come back – each minute should be utilized wisely for that makes all the difference in you having an excellently productive day or not.[1]

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Time management is essential if you want to finish the day’s work and chores in an orderly manner, not have any guilt over “wastage” and even have enough free time left over to spend with family, friends or even with yourself.

8 Time Management Rules That Successful People Follow

Maintain a Time Log

When you embark on a fitness of weight loss regime, nutritionists and dieticians often advise that you keep a food and workout log – to note down all that you ate in a day, the quantity of what you ate and even the fitness regime for that day. Similarly, successful businesspersons often advise that you start a time management program by maintaining a time log – this will tell you how you used your time and where all are you wasting it – it may make you feel a bit like a slacker, but it will ultimately help you give your work day proper direction and help you answer that nagging question “where is my time going?”[2]

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Get Some Workout in the Morning

Richard Branson, the super famous, filthy rich celebrity-cum-corporate honcho gets up at 5 am to work out and claims that his morning fitness regime helps him have a super-productive day. And he’s not wrong – working out in the morning keeps you mentally sharp and physically active through the day – and you also get the feel good of the exercise high since the endorphins aka happy hormones flood your system and also are on a high since you did something positive for yourself early in the morning! [3]

Decide on a Must-Do List

Entrepreneur and CNBC’s The Profit star Marcus Lemonis has another great tip to offer his audience – he makes a must-do list every morning – though he calls it his knockout list. And he of course has card in his basement closet specially made for this, and after he has done his five things of the day that simply cannot be put off, if he has the time, he does more. And the card of the day is turned into a paper plane once the tasks are all done… So the gist for you remains the same, though you don’t need custom-made cards – a simply notebook, planner or even diary would suffice, and you don’t have to make paper planes out if it either – do your own quirk instead. [4]

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Do Difficult Tasks in the Morning

There are things – call them tasks, call them chores or call them bores – that we all tend to groan and moan about and put off till the very last minute. These are the tasks that you should tackle the first thing in the morning itself when you are fresh, sharp and not jaded by what the day has brought you. Do what you find boring and uninterested first, the rest of the day is likely to be much more interesting and fun for you to go through – if you keep putting off those tasks they are likely to take up a lot of time when you finally get around to doing them. Morning is the time your willpower is at your highest – so a good time to tackle what would normally take you a lot of dithering to finish.[5]

Make Work Interesting

Jack Groetzinger, co-founder and CEO of SeatGeek makes his tasks fun by gamifying them. He has written a software that calculates how much time it takes him to do something – say writing an e-mail and maintains a daily log of the same. Each day, he tries to break his own record by doing the same thing faster, even if it’s just by a few seconds. And while not all of us are tech-inclined enough to do the same, there are not plenty of apps available that literally map your time, and help you finish your work faster – by using regular reminders, or even screen alarms.[6]

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Concentrate on Core Competencies

What you don’t know well, will take you time to do. We are all are great at a few things, but not-so-great or inclined at others. Make sure that when it comes to time management skills, you tackle the work that falls within your core competencies the most, instead of doing stuff that you first have to learn, err or that is simply not up your alley. This is not to say that you shouldn’t learn something new or try something that you haven’t before, but keep that restricted to your free or leisure time. Bill Smith, founder and CEO of Shipt says that as much as he’d like to do everything by himself, he’s much rather delegate stuff to competent employees so that he is free to do what he is best at – oversee and direct.[7]

Use Your Free Time, Plan Your Breaks

Arianna Huffington, author and entrepreneur takes breaks during the day, especially for meals and believes that taking “pauses” boosts productivity and decreases stress. Similarly, Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and entrepreneur tries to maximize him time – if he’s travelling, he doesn’t snooze away his time. Instead he’ll do his e-mails… So when you get free time, use that to your advantage instead of whiling it away. And your breaks need to be planned as well – you can use a bit of free time to plan ahead and take some deliberate breaks to refresh yourself at work as well.[8]

Plan a Good Weekend

Nick Huzar, the founder and CEO of OfferUp, prioritizes some alone time on Sundays to refocus himself and his work. His breaks are planned and used to plan his week ahead. On the flip side, planning a good weekend also works and will help you stave off that I-have-wasted-my-free-time depressing feeling. Plan three to five anchor events that give you the positive feeling that the weekend was spent well, instead that a weekend merely happened. Go for a run, or a weekend trip, or a movie or even a family picnic. Spend your free time constructively instead of being just a boring homebody.[9]

So basically, learn from the experts as to how they manage to accomplish a lot more than others, in the same amount of time. The day is the same 24 hours for everyone – but time management makes all the difference in what all you are able to do in it… [10]

Reference

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Last Updated on September 30, 2019

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

1. Develop an Agenda

Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

3. Record Attendance

On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

4. Naming Convention

Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

5. What, and What Not, to Include

Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

7. Record Votes

The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

9. Proofread with Care

Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

10. Distribute Broadly

Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

11. File Meticulously

Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

One Caveat

In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

Bottom Line

Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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