Loretta Love Huff – “Under-promise, over-deliver. Expect that things will take longer than you expect.”
Loretta Love Huff is an award-winning business consultant. She helps professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs harvest the ideas in their heads and the dreams in their hearts into careers and businesses. Loretta is the author of two books, Leadership without Limits: Inspiring the Best in Yourself, Your People and Your Organization and 6 Keys for Dissolving Disputes: When “Off with their heads!” Won’t Work. She has made several appearances on the local Fox10 Morning News show and been featured in business publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Arizona Republic, Black Enterprise, The Phoenix Business Journal, Arizona Woman, and Working Mother. Loretta holds a BS in Psychology from Howard University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago.
1. Why does efficient time management make sense?
Huff: “Life throws a lot of wrenches at us. If we don’t use our time wisely, for our highest and best purpose, we won’t reach our potential nor accomplish what we’re here on earth to do.”
2. What is the biggest mistake impeding efficient time management?
Huff: “Not setting daily goals and planning our days leads to wasted opportunities. It’s critical that we determine what our precious time gets allocated to and used for. Not planning leads to a lack of focus, procrastination and missed opportunities.”
3. Where should I begin, if I want to keep my appointments better?
Huff: “Recognize that things will generally take longer than you anticipate. Anticipate that. Also allocate time on your schedule for breakdowns everyday because unexpected things will come up and strip away time you had allocated for other activities. When you have ‘scheduled’ an hour here and there for breakdowns, when they occur you’ll still have time in your day to get the rest of your work done. Recognize that showing up late for appointments with others is a form of disrespect. Stop what you’re doing well in advance of when you need to get to your next appointment.”
4. What are the basics for meeting all my deadlines?
Huff: “Under-promise, over-deliver. Expect that things will take longer than you expect. Schedule your time and honor the work commitments you make to yourself. Put deadlines on your calendar. Create mini-milestones that you must reach on the way to completing the task and schedule them on your calendar. Set up the people you make commitments to with realistic expectations, then delight them by performing better than promised. If you see you’re running behind, own up to it. Ask for help. Don’t worry about looking weak or bad. You’ll look worse if you don’t deliver. Notify the ‘recipient’ that things may take longer and explain what’s happening early on. It’s best to let them know you might be late when there is time for them to make adjustments to their plans than to wait until it’s too late for them to do anything to deal with the delay and create a bigger problem. Work like crazy to deliver it on time anyway. Don’t use the excuse ‘Well I told them…’ to let yourself off the hook.”
5. How can I strengthen my willpower to follow my plans?
Huff: “Go public with your ambitions. Find people who are supportive and tell them what you’re striving for. When you’ve shared your goals, you’re more likely to continue working on them. Also, you may need to quiet the voices you hear in your head telling you you’re not worthy, that you don’t deserve success, that you’ll never amount to anything. Each of us has a unique set of gifts and a purpose for being alive. Discover and honor your gifts. Use them to fulfill on your purpose. If you are alive, you deserve to be the best version of yourself. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Mary Ann Evans”
6. What can I do if others complicate my own time management?
Huff: “Set boundaries. If people are sucking up your time, let them (politely) know. Ask for their assistance in helping you meet your commitments, even if they are your children. Don’t use helping others as an excuse to get out of tasks you don’t enjoy. Don’t take on their problems. Let them grow by expecting they can deal with their situation. Explain how they will benefit if you are able to complete the task at hand (e.g. you’ll have more time for them later, you’ll be more attentive and fun). If it’s your boss complicating things, let them know (again, politely) how full your plate is. Ask them to help you prioritize the projects they’ve given you.”
7. What is the difference between time management in private life and in professional life?
Huff: “There isn’t much difference if you have personal and professional goals. Both need attention, planning and efficient time utilization. The primary difference is that at work you have a boss who holds the power of the paycheck as leverage. In your private life, there may not be anyone holding you accountable for your personal goals. You have to fill that role and some people struggle with putting their dreams at the top of their priority list. If you have family, it may be tempting to place your work needs ahead of theirs, but that’s not a good long-term strategy. You need to place as much value on the people who are important to you as you do your work life. Think about it, when you die, you probably won’t say ‘Gosh, I wish I spent more time at work!’”
8. What personal price do I have to pay for more efficiency?
Huff: “You will have to give up self-indulgence and staying in your comfort zone. Using time effectively often means confronting difficult, challenging, scary tasks quickly rather than procrastinating on them, hoping they’ll go away. It may feel inconvenient, even painful, in the short-term, but in the long term, if you press yourself, you’ll accomplish more and feel better about what you’ve done with your life.”
9. What success does a better time management yield?
Huff: “When you use time well, you’ll make more good things happen. This will boost your confidence, allowing you to accomplish even more. You’ll value yourself more and others will see you in a better light as well. You’ll more likely get recognized at work and receive more promotions, better jobs and more pay. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll have a more successful business. You’ll have more customers, happier customers and more money in the bank. You’ll feel proud of yourself and will be a better contributor to the world around you.”