Of the three to four hundred emails Richard Branson receives each day, he was recently surprised at the number asking for time management advice. The threat of not having enough time really takes hold when bureaucracy begins to intrude on a successful business. And email, he says, is one of the big hurdles: “I try to respond to as many reader emails as I can. I read through the list every morning and dictate quick answers to my assistants, pass some to colleagues, and usually write a couple of longer, more detailed responses myself.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Perhaps Branson’s singular piece of advice for managing your time effectively is to stay focused. Distraction is time lost. Manage your Blackberry, he says. Don’t let it manage you. Check email in bursts and then put it away to concentrate on the task at hand. When it comes to managing others’ time, it’s better to give your employees space than directives. As long as you’ve hired people you trust (which doesn’t mean they won’t occasionally make mistakes) you will feel comfortable giving them the reins and letting them take responsibility.