If you are like me, you will probably look at the last two weeks and say "where did they go?" Time waits for no one (I think that was a Rolling Stones song) so it's important to respect time and use it effectively.

This is the case for when you are "in the zone" in your work or business and when you have down time. I re-read a book while I was in Australia which once again made me assess how I used time and it also reinforced a concept which was important to me. That is, to spend my time on the right things rather than just fill my time with activities which don't add value.

I have found that in business there are two types of people: those who are in business doing things and those who are doing business. If you have people in your circle who talk a lot about "how busy [they] are" or "how [they] don't have time" the likelihood is that the majority of them will be all about looking busy rather than being truly effective. Consider also that, while they are telling you about their busy life, they are actually wasting your time too.

I have spent the last week researching time wasters which get between us and effectiveness and here are a couple of examples. Although these may be a challenge to manage and/or eliminate, I'd encourage you to give them a go. You will be surprised at how the quality of your time in and out of work will be enhanced:

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Media - Kiwis watch on average between two and three hours of TV per day. That is close to one day a week in front of the box. Try a media fast - if you want an easy seven hours return, eliminate watching TV news (reducing the amount of Kim Dotcom in your life actually tangibly increases your quality of life).

Internet - This is a time killer at home and at work. Limit yourself to a short time per day, use it only in your breaks and only for research in business time.

Ask yourself, is this time I am spending going to boost my revenue or reduce my expenses? (or if you are an employee, will this time investment get me a promotion?).

Facebook can be a great business tool, but finding out your friend stayed up all night because of a dodgy vindaloo is not a great use of time.

Email - The most striking suggestion from the book I read was to only clear emails twice a day - at lunch and at 4pm. And if an email subject was so urgent, the sender will ring or see you in person. Too much time is burned up composing the perfect email when a phone call will do.

Angry Birds - which should be renamed "stretch your coffee breaks".

It is interesting that all this is stuff I already knew, however at times you need someone to synthesize these concepts so that they resonate more.

If you want to start the new year with proven suggestions for enhancing your business' performance contact Wanganui's specialist business consulting practice, Zenith Solutions Limited 021-244-2421.

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