You’ve Got Some ’Splainin’ to Do!

My friend Margaret’s life is like a series of “I Love Lucy” episodes. The latest (and I will be brief) is hilarious but has a lesson for all of us. She works for a bank in a downtown metropolitan area and stays late at the office. Last week, she talked to her husband as she walked to the car at 11:30 pm. “Made it safely” she said. “I’ll see you in 15 minutes.” She popped in a book on tape, and accidentally redialed her husband, who heard: “if you cooperate, I won’t hurt you.” The book on tape…, but he didn’t know that. Oh, you can only imagine where the story goes from here.

At the conclusion of the story, I asked “What did you learn from this? (And the answer is not ‘giving up books on tape!’) Margaret, you should not have to work until midnight! Time management! Who and what is stealing your time? Take control.”

Easier said than done, right? How do you take control? Here are a few suggestions:

Batch Process

  • Batch processing means that you complete all the like type of tasks at one time so your mind is in the routine. Outbound calls, tracking, observation, returning telephone calls or emails.


  • Define what is urgent versus simply important. And then handle the urgent tasks first. Communication and clarity are a must when prioritizing.

Time Locking

  • Setting aside an hour or two each day to focus on urgent or priority tasks will provide exceptional outcomes. (But you cannot be in a perpetual time lock.)

Time Managed Action Plans

  • Plan out your entire week by the half hour with all of the tasks you need to complete. My personal experience is that it is emotionally and psychologically liberating. I used to make checklists but became frustrated that I couldn’t complete everything in a week. The problem…not enough hours in a week. A good plan shows you what you can, and can’t, accomplish in the time available.

Hope I didn’t take up too much of your time today, but you’ve got some ’splainin’ to do if you don’t at least try my tips.

Your thoughts?

Cynthia Whitmer Griffith is a Performance Results Network Results Consultant for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

Cohen Brown Management Group is the internally recognized leader in sales-and-service cultural and behavioral change, specializing in consulting and training processes for management, front-line, support/customer service units and call centers. Performance Grapevine provides thought leadership insights on sales training, sales management, leadership training, time management, consultative selling, behavior change, organization change, and culture change.


  1. This is spot on Cindy and oh so timely. Plus, hillarious!

  2. Great one indeed…

  3. Barb Heinricher 10 years ago

    Leave it to a Margaret story to illustrate the value of getting to the root lesson(s) of any experience.

    I’ve learned that the best first step in improving my time managment is to step back and assess why it has become an issue for me (again). Then I can chose to implement some of the great suggestions Cindy recorded here. Typically I have gotten out of the habit of using what I know has worked. It’s similar to resolving yet again to eat right and exercise!

  4. khoo chock seang 10 years ago

    totally agree. As sales leaders, there are many issues to handle daily as well as to generate revenues and meet daily revenue targets. the minor many have often times distracted us from focusing on key issues or the majors that will make a major impact on our revenues.

    Time lock is critical especially in teleconsulting as through experience, once the handset is put down, it will seem to be very heavy to make calls again and this affects productivity in making calls.

  5. Cynthia Whitmer Griffith 10 years ago

    Barb, great to hear from you. What a great point!!! Making it a habit that is done with consistency. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to get back on track.

    Khoo, I love time locks! I really need to focus on them so that I don’t allow people or things such as email to interrupt the time lock.

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