Beyond the Build


It’s About Time.

Time.  It seems that these days, none of us have enough.

When I was a child, my father worked with Southern Bell. I clearly remember the slogan, “Let your fingers do the walking,” and the accompanying “two fingers” mark. [Interestingly, neither the text or the symbol was ever copyrighted, and AT&T allowed any company — even its competitors — to use it on telephone directories.]

While the Yellow Pages book has been replaced with search engines, the directory was the precursor to saving time, carbon and energy.

Even with all the time-saving devices and apps evolving these days, it seems like time is an even more precious commodity that we have all wasted at some point. I sure wish I could buy someone’s wasted time.

I’m convinced that if I did not have to sleep, I could get everything I wish to accomplish done. Since not sleeping isn’t an option, here are a few things I try to do:

  • Plan like I have a flight to catch. If I have a lot to do, I pretend I have a flight at 3 p.m. It’s amazing what one can do with this kind of backstop. We all need deadlines, as nothing is ever accomplished as efficiently without the bookend.
  • Skip the meetings. Do I really need to be present? If a meeting isn’t consistent with my priorities, I politely decline the invitation.
  • Take advantage of quiet time. If I have a ton of things to do, I triage during the business week, but then sometimes I get paralyzed working on one thing and worrying about something else that needs to be done at the same time. This is when my Saturday mornings come into play. I know I’ll have a block of time without the phone ringing to accomplish tasks.

What works for you? 

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.