No B.S. Time Management has only 108 pages, yet includes highly practical observations and advice about time management that you can put to work immediately to increase your personal effectiveness.
This book explains that to be effective and successful, we must learn to value our time to invest it in high-payoff activities. What a high payoff activity is depends on your personal values. This includes improving relationships, creating a successful business, improving physical fitness, spiritual development, community service, and/or investing for financial security.
“I was delighted with the comment of my son, Jimmy, when he had to spend time on an activity that he didn’t value. “Give me back my day! I want my day back!” Like Jimmy, we need to become very particular about how we spend our time, and learn to avoid “time vampires” that would suck away our time and our lives.”
An approach that Kennedy gives for entrepreneurs is to develop a base earnings target. Kennedy asks, “What is the minimum amount you will be satisfied in earning?” He then relates to how much you need to earn per productive hour to reach that target? This becomes your “per hour value” benchmark. For example, if your target earning is $200,000, your work year is about 2,000 hours. Since about half of work time is devoted to productive activities, the value of your productive hours needs to be $200. This means that for every hour wasted, $200 is flushed down the toilet.
Many people have non-productive activities that increase their time investment for a return. For example, travel time between work locations. This reduces their realization per hour. How can you strategically increase your return when traveling? Can you “cluster” business appointments for a location? When planning sales calls, can you plan your calls to meet several customers located close to each other? Well, contrary to popular trends, Kennedy says chief executives need to reduce their accessibility or everyone will suck away their high-payoff time. Other employees should be satisfying the needs of the customers for service. Let employees solve most of their own problems.
Kennedy trashes “open door” policies. He believes most organizations are getting priorities backwards. The chief executive should provide the leadership and direction for the organization (especially for marketing initiatives). The purpose of the employees is to support the chief executive’s goals. (We should note here that Kennedy prefers to participate in ventures with few or no employees.)
An approach Kennedy gives to avoid being embroiled in workplace problems is simply not to go there often. The chief executive can accomplish a lot more at home or in an office located separately from the rest of the operation.
Kennedy also believes executives need to avoid knee-jerk responses to telephone calls. Most calls can be handled at scheduled times. Systems can be put in place so key “VIP” customers have access, while others are limited. “Right or wrong, most folks don’t put a lot of value on getting to the wise man at the bottom of the mountain.”
According to Kennedy, one of the most important disciplines we can develop is to be punctual. Anyone who can’t be punctual can’t be trusted.
Another problem area that Kennedy addresses are suppliers. If suppliers miss delivery dates, the entire system becomes backed up (or destroyed). For example, Kennedy gives marketing training materials presentations for sales. If the materials aren’t delivered, people can’t buy them and the entire effort is a wash. When delivery is this critical, you must insist the suppliers meet the promised delivery date as a condition of continuing to do business with them and you must not accept a string of excuses for failure to meet your requirements.
Although Kennedy’s philosophy is a contrast to many of the “soft handed” approaches of current management culture, we would place No B.S. Time Management on a required reading list for entrepreneurs and executives.