High Five – The Economics of Time

From Bob GilesHigh Five from Handshake 2.0:

Using that precious, scarce resource, time, is one of the manager's most difficult tasks. Economics has been defined as the study of the allocation of scarce resources. There is no one way to save large amounts of time. Some activities simply require large investments. A composite set of activities, such as in the list below, used with synergism, might improve managerial control over time and thus the outcomes and costs of business.

  • Plan and use a quiet time.
  • Work in blocks of topics and of time.
  • Make phone calls only in the morning.
  • Allow no casual "visits."
  • Avoid all possible meetings.
  • Shorten meetings.
  • Shorten time away from work.
  • Throw things away.
  • Don't clutter; file things for rapid, sure recovery.
  • Don't procrastinate.
  • Stay informed on critical issues only.
  • Say no.
  • Use and work with available staff and give them credit.
  • Hire assistants at wages (salary-equivalents) lower than yours to improve on the output per hour per dollar-equivalent spent. (For example, are you typing letters when a secretary at lower wages than yours can do the same work?)
  • Set deadlines.
  • Allow for crises. They are known, common, and expected.
  • Consolidate.
  • Save time while traveling … both length, time, ability to work after the trip (efficiency due to tiredness), and activities during the trip.
  • Discuss with others whom you observe to be time-conscious how they save time.
  • Try to expand this unit and pass it on to others.
  • The increases will be in the permutations of practices you employ from among this list, even very small changes in a few categories.


Robert H. Giles, Jr. writes High Five for Handshake 2.0, a technology business news and Web 2.0 services enterprise of Handshake Media, Incorporated, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks.  The opinions Robert Giles expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0 or its clients, sponsors or advertisers. 

You can follow Robert H. Giles, Jr. on Twitter @Bob_Giles

Robert H. Giles, Jr. is a Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus with a vision for a rural land management system.  He writes two blogs, The Survivalists and Faunal Force. 

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