5 Steps to Eliminating Time Bandits

It’s 9 AM, you’ve had your 2 cups of coffee and now you sit down at your desk, ready to start making calls. Then an “urgent” call comes in from an unemployed candidate needing an update on the status of his unremarkable resume. After you peel him off the phone, you decide to check your email (for the 3rd time in the last 20 minutes) and you find that you have 15 new emails to go through, 10 of which are SPAM. As you’re going through the SPAM, your co-worked decides to update you on her date from hell the night before.

Now it’s 9:45 AM- how are those calls going?

Little events like this eat away at your most precious and irreplaceable resource; time. It is very easy in this business to be extremely busy doing the wrong things. The frantic pace of many recruiters’ desks adds to the illusion that something meaningful is happening. There is no doubt that there are a great many details that need to be tended to but how and when you take care of them can make a significant difference in your paycheck at the end of the month.

Do the closest thing to revenue first:

In crude terms, there are really only 2 categories in your work: revenue generating activities and everything else. You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule which says that 80% of a typical salesperson’s success comes from 20% of his or her activities. One of the characteristics that big billers have in common is that they consistently focus on the 20%- and virtually nothing else.

More often than not, when we are trying to decide what to focus on during the day we are actually choosing between a wide variety of tasks that could all be classified as a “good” use of our time. Big billers have a finely tuned ability to gravitate toward the best activities while allowing many good, but less important, activities to go undone.


Creating systematized ways of doing things will help to free up more time. Set an aggressive goal to only do no more than 2 hours of administrative work per week and see if you can find creative ways to achieve this. So, if your goal is to do no more than 2 hours of administrative work per week, you will start to make note of what items are wasting your time and then be able to consider a way to automate, delegate or trash that activity. If you are able to off load administrivia, research and data entry to a researcher or support person you will have a much better chance of staying focused on leveraged, money oriented activities.

As an example, you may want to create a folder (or signature file) in your email software where you keep form emails for specific situations (marketing email, follow up email, prep email) that you can customize quickly, hit forward, and send out. Any message that you send out more than once per week ought to be saved and updated regularly. This way you write the message once, save it, and never have to write it again.

Eliminate time bandits:

It’s important to understand how much of your time is spent on productive activities that contribute directly to the results that you want and how much of your time is spent unproductively. If you are the type of person who has no idea where the time goes then I’d suggest the following activity:

1. Track exactly how you spend your time in 15 minute increments for a 5 day period. If you do this, you are almost certain to discover some things that will surprise you.
2. Categorize your results into blocks (marketing, sourcing, deleting spam, personal calls etc.). Get specific about where the time is going.
3. Identify what % of your time you are spending on money making activities.
4. Identify your “Time bandits.” Those little buggers who steal your prime hours and hold them hostage.
5. Make a plan to delegate, automate, minimize or eliminate your time bandits.

Establish an ideal daily template:

Objectively looking at your habits and deliberately choosing more productive habits enables you to create an ideal daily routine. The ideal daily routine is a template of how your perfect day would go. It’s a map that guides the way you your day will unfold. So it’s a guideline but not an inflexible template. It will assist you in focusing on the best activities and feeling more control of your schedule and production.

Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists Firm Owners and Solo Recruiters in generating more profit in less time. Gary offers a FREE special report, “The Search Process Checklist: a 17 step recruiting tool”, on his website. Get your copy now at www.therecruitinglab.com.

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Employers are divided on whether a long-anticipated shortage of talent will soon emerge, according to a survey of 3,100 senior human resources executives by Novations Group, a consulting organization based in Boston.

While most companies have seen some signs of a talent shortage, 39% reported no such indications. At the same time, one-third of organizations have already taken steps to update selection and recruitment criteria. Nevertheless, 10% of employers expect no shortage of talent in the next decade.

With respect to a long-anticipated shortage of talent, how would you characterize your current approach to selection and hiring?

• We have already seen some signs of a talent shortage and have taken steps to update selection criteria: 32.1%
• We have seen signs of a talent shortage, but we will continue to hire at a normal pace in the year ahead: 29.1%
• While we have seen no signs of a talent shortage, our organization will remain cautious on new hiring in the year ahead: 19.4%
• While we have seen no signs of a talent shortage, we are convinced one will emerge before the end of the decade, and we will take appropriate steps: 9.7%
• We do not anticipate a talent shortage in the next decade: 9.5%

The talent shortage continues to capture the imagination of employers worldwide, said Novations Group Vice President Tim Vigue. “But our survey shows there’s also widespread uncertainty on what’s going to happen and when. Some organizations are in a passive mode, while the smart ones are taking a hard look at their recruitment and selection procedures.”

Uncertainty about an approaching talent shortage may also be reflected in a Novations’ finding about retiring baby boomers, Vigue said. “Again, organizations are divided, with as many taking steps to mitigate the loss of talent as there are others that expect no great talent drain as boomers retire.”

With respect to retiring baby boomers, how would you describe the situation at your organization?

• We anticipate a serious loss of talent and institutional know-how, but currently do not have any steps in place to mitigate this loss: 17.9%
• We’re taking steps to mitigate our loss of talent, for example, by creating ways for baby boomers to gradually reduce their hours: 29.6%
• We don’t expect an unusually large loss of talent with baby boomer retirements: 39.3%
• Not sure: 14.1%

The Novations Group Internet survey of 3,100 senior HR and development executives was conducted by Equation Research. Founded in 1977 and based in Boston, Novations Group is one of the country’s largest performance improvement organizations and serves clients on four continents. For information visit www.Novations.com.

Gary Stauble believes you should work hard and play harder. He assists owners and their teams in implementing leading edge strategies that create the biggest impact with the minimum effective dose of effort. You can download his complimentary report entitled “$1 Million Time Management” on his website. In the report, you’ll learn 9 time management secrets of a $1 million producer. Get your complimentary copy now at www.TheRecruitingLab.com.


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