By January 22, 2009 14 Comments Read More →

Program Yourself For Extremely Fast Performance


Some call it GTD, some call it Kaizen, some just call it discipline. Call it what ever you like. If you want to perform extremely fast you better adopt proven performance practices. You must program yourself the way the world fastest computers are. Program yourself to perform fast when

Steve Hansen - pile up by Katiya Rhode-Singh.
by Katiya Rhode-Singh

checking emails, reading news, attending meetings, selling to your customers, delivering services, blogging.

Why?

They say “time is money”. If you can save yourself time, you surely save yourself tons of money. Here is how I save.


Process Emails Fast

I have this silly habit of asking everyone the question “how many email items you have in your Inbox?”. The answer varies from hundreds to thousands. Yesterday I visited an old friend – he has 26,000 thousand emails in his inbox…

You spend enormous time keeping emails in your inbox. Stop it! Trash it all – it is all stale. Starting from tomorrow follow simple practice – keep your Inbox clean! How?

  • Spam goes directly to trash (delete it immediately!)
  • Emails that require time investment – block time in your calendar and stick it there. Now delete it from your Inbox.
  • Knowledge emails – move it to your knowledge base folder.
  • Fast forward emails (“who’s the guy that repairs….?”) – answer immediately and delete it from your Inbox.

Is your Inbox clean now? Are we clear now? Good. Next.

    Fast Forward Meetings

    Meeting mostly is the biggest performance killer. Here is how to save time on meetings.

    • Stop calling a meetings. You have plenty ways to communicate your message effectively.
    • Stop attending meetings. There is really few reasons to attend a meeting. There are many more reasons to call a meeting off.
    • When at a meeting keep the goal of the meeting before the attendees.
    • During the meeting track the following: action item, the owner, the expected result, the timeline.
    • When the meeting is over you should have meeting summary ready to be sent – send it right before the meeting ends.
    • Start and end meeting exactly when it was schedule.

    Sell Fast

    I heard someone saying the software prices are either $500 or $100,000. Think about it. If the product costs $500 there is a little risk of buying it. It is also unreasonable to have sales guy attached to the product that costs that little. When the product costs $100,000 the risk of buying is huge. The prospect needs a little push to decide. This is where the sales man kicks in. It is also reasonable to have a sales guy for $100,000 product to cove her costs.

    I am usually involved in low end service packages. Here is what I do.

    • Create simple SOW (Statement Of Work), very simple. That simple that the prospect won’t ask you to meet in order to discuss the details.
    • If the prospect asks for a meeting – refuse. Explain it is part of the work.
    • If the prospect insists to meet – tell her the truth, that meeting will actually cost you more than the delivery.
    • If the prospect insist – give her the phone number of another service provider.

    Deliver Services Fast

    Enable fast service delivery following these simple practices.

    • Create well defined procedures to follow when delivering the service.
    • Create simple checklists to follow and check your work.
    • Prioritize – focus on high return for your time. Ignore the rest. Communicate it to the customer.

    Deliver the service and go home fast.

    Blog Fast

    Are you aspiring part time blogger? How do you stay alive in the blogosphere ocean when so many sharks surround your? This is what I do:

    • Collect topics for blogging during the week. Generate topics pipeline.
    • Write your blog posts week ahead pulling the blog topics out of your pipeline.
    • Use templates for your posts, do not write from scratch.
    • Stop using a mouse – use shortcuts.

    Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.

    Practice This – Get Results

    • Clean your Inbox – save time on scanning it over and over again. 
    • Call that stupid meeting off!
    • Shorten sales cycles by selling narrow brands. “The wide you spread it, the thinner it gets“.
    • Deliver your services on spec – save on customizations. Customers will appreciate on time delivery of what was promised.
    • Blog super fast – generate topics pipeline, use templates, write blog posts week ahead.

    My Related Posts

    Posted in: Time Management

    About the Author:

    This blog is dedicated to share simple practices I that get me results.

    14 Comments on "Program Yourself For Extremely Fast Performance"

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    1. I don’t know about deleting emails though I do think it’s efficient to keep items in the inbox to a bare minimum. I leave all open action items in my inbox and I file the rest into folders and it’s a good thing too – because I often have to go back and review archived emails.

    2. alik levin says:

      Melissa,
      Good to hear we share the same practices ;)

    3. J.D. Meier says:

      I find the leaner I do things, the more energy I have.

      I’m a fan of using speed to stay strong.

    4. alik levin says:

      JD,
      Agree – energy is key.

    5. Hi Alik – As I was reading this, I realized it was also a fast read. How did you do that?

      Thankfully I have very few meetings, but the email subject is something I need to address. I like your ideas and look forward to implementing them.

    6. alik levin says:

      Barbara,
      Thanks for the feedback!
      One of my personal values is time. I value my time, I also value the reader’s (your) time. To show I value the reader’s time I try to adopt writing style that does not make it hard to read it. I also try to format my posts so that the reader can scan it fast without actually reading it line by line.
      If the reader can get the idea of the post fast then I hit my goal.

    7. Evelyn Lim says:

      I spend a fair bit of time clearing my mails. I have to find a better way of addressing the amount of emails I am getting.

      I also like alik’s suggestion of formatting posts to quickly bring the relevant points across. It’s true that most readers are not going to be reading every word. It will be helpful to highlight what’s important in the post.

    8. tom says:

      Great post especially about blogging. I have a page full of topics that i want to write about and i am sometimes one or 2 weeks ahead of posting articles because i write them ahead of time.
      This gives me time to comment on other blogs and get my blog out there.

      With email, i tackle all the new emails right away, because if i let it sit there, i will forget about it or at worse, delete it later on because i am sick of it sitting there.

    9. Ruth says:

      Speaking of faster blogging, I set up gopingme.com to e-mail me ideas at certain times of day on certain days. For me, that’s a cue to go and write. Doesn’t always work, but it often saves a lot of time staring at a screen!

    10. alik levin says:

      tom,
      Thanks for good words!
      Glad to hear we share similar practices ;)
      Seems like it works for us both.

      Ruth,
      Interesting approach of generating ideas. I do something similar. I time box my blogging. I set predefined time slots in my calendar. I actually budget the blogging by allocating specific time budget. That way I never miss to blog. Check out this one – this is how I get results in anything i am involved with, including blogging ;)
      http://practicethis.com/2008/09/06/time-is-not-money-time-is-budget/

    11. Hi Alik, I got some useful ideas from this post.

      I like how you included the blogging tips–I couldn’t live without the one you mentioned about collecting possible topics. It really helps to have a little arsenal of ideas to go to when I sit down to write a new post–even if it is just a few words I’ve jotted down. I find this gives me inspiration when otherwise I might have been staring at a blank notepad doc instead. :)

    12. alik levin says:

      Christine,
      Good to hear the tips were useful!
      I actually adopted the technique from John Lennon and Gerald M. Weinberg ;), here:
      On Writing – John Lennon, Gerald M. Weinberg, Me, You, And Outlook 2007

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