As you get ready to change the clocks and "fall back" this weekend, you might be thinking about the extra hour you'll gain. Sure, some of you will deny the hour, thinking there are still only 24 hours in a day. But your body clock will wake you an hour earlier and you will still likely go to bed at your usual hour. If nothing else, the shift alone is a good reason to learn from an expert how not to squander those precious 60 minutes.
Chocko Valliappa, a member of YPO (Young Presidents' Organization), knows a bit about time. He spends his time running an award-winning 10,000 student polytechnic University, heading up Vee Technologies--an Inc. 500 fastest-growing company that specializes in health care, research and development, and engineering design services--and putting his heart and soul into his nonprofit venture SonaYukti, which helps alleviate poverty in his native India.
In his minimal spare time, he is an artist specializing in Horology -- building interesting clocks. He's developed his own line of clocks, Klockology, which is, as Valliappa says, "the intersection of where art meets time." Valliappa obviously has a lot to say about time and clocks, so here are his best tips on how to get the most out of your time.
1. Work smarter, not harder.
Time is finite, therefore figuring out how to work smarter, and not harder, is key. Valliappa suggests these tips to save time in meetings: "At the beginning of every meeting, it's good to do a level set. In the middle, do a time check, and toward the end, look for next steps and actionable items." This way you can always keep meetings from dragging on and wasting time.
2. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Figuring out how to do more with less is a daily strategy. Valliappa urges you, "Begin by delegating and empowering your people. This way you can get more done, and as your team is more empowered by their tasks, more can be done by each of them."
3. Focus on the task at hand.
Getting distracted by the many particulars of different tasks can make it so that nothing gets done. Valliappa has learned how to alleviate wasting time: "I manage two drastically different businesses: One is a technology outsourcing company and the other is a higher education university. This diversity also has different time requirements. I do educational work until the afternoon; post-afternoon is for outsourcing. Try to allocate time accordingly."
4. Utilize different time zones.
Time is different now that we are all connected by technology. "The globalized world has time that never stops," Valliappa explains. "It's 7 a.m. somewhere in the world. When you're running a global company, you can stretch your hours in ways you couldn't locally. For example, schedule calls late at night when everyone in your time zone is asleep."
5. Listen to your biological clock.
While getting the maximum out of time is important, it's equally important to shrink your time. Valliappa does quite a bit of traveling, and he knows about jet lag: "I'm on flights 80 hours a month, sometimes for flights that are 20 hours or longer. So, knowing my jet lag patterns and biological clock is sacrosanct. You do not want to mess with the times you need to be resting."
6. Sometimes analog is still best.
Valliappa is the first to admit, "I'm a complete gadget geek. But, I still maintain a four-quadrant sheet of paper prioritizing things to do and calls to make. This gets rewritten daily so I know exactly when things are past due. I keep a written log, because it's something I can't just switch off at the end of the day."
7. Let your personal time linger.
"In this fast-paced world, time is drastically different in professional and personal worlds," Valliappa sagely explains. "In the work world, you need to do things smarter, quicker and reduce time. But in the personal world, you need to elongate time. I guess that's why it's called 'spending time.'"
Each week Kevin explores exclusive stories inside YPO (Young Presidents' Organization), the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.