Time Well Spent

Time Well Spent


On prioritising the tough tasks

I tackle the most difficult tasks, emails and issues first thing in the morning, very early at at around 5:30. This is a quiet time without any interruptions and my mind is sharp – it allows me the space to give things the attention they require. Then I start each working day with a 15 minute meeting with key members of my team where we run through the difficult issues on the table. This puts the important things top of everyone’s minds when they start their day.

On managing meetings

Time management is critical. At the beginning of a meeting I tell people what their time slot is and I try to be disciplined about ending the meeting on time. Often it might seem important to continue discussing the issue at hand, but if you run over on one meeting, you’ll be late for the next task and you never catch up. This is self-defeating and means you are never on top of anything.

On setting aside time for strategic thinking

If something requires strategic thought, like a new project, I set aside a specific morning and get up at 4am and put pen to paper in the comfort of my home. It’s my best and most creative time. I think it‘s important to find out when your brain functions best and use that time to maximum advantage.

On getting things out of the way immediately

If there are things that can be actioned immediately in a meeting, I do them there and then. Meetings are normally work-generating and if you are in meetings all day you never have the time to action the things that were decided in the meeting. So I look for quick wins that can be done immediately. It reduces my ‘to do’ list enormously.

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On managing phonecalls

My voicemail asks people not to leave a message but rather to SMS or email me. Many queries are quick and easy to respond to, but if I have to listen to messages I often won’t get to them until the end of the day, whereas I can often respond to SMS and email immediately.

Time well spent

Effective time management enables me to dedicate every Monday morning between 8am and 1pm to visiting our many corporate social investment projects. It’s extremely important to me that communities see that business leaders care enough about them to spend time meeting with and talking to them. It‘s easy to make the excuse that you’re too busy but if you manage your time properly, it can be just as easy to make the time to do the important stuff.

Claim to fame

Founder of Edison Power Group, started with R500, today has a turnover in excess of R5 billion.

Current position

CEO of Edison Power Group

Juliet Pitman
Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.