February 24, 2015

Top Time-Saving Tips from an Executive Ghostwriter

You’ve seen hundreds of time-saving tips… Keep a To Do list… Don’t keep a To Do List… Limit your meetings to five minutes… Make people stand up in a meeting. These are all reasonable ways to save time, but they are mere bandaids at best, because they don’t get to the root of the issue.

What matters most to you?

The best way to save time is to always keep in mind what matters most to you. Focus on that, and stop spending time on things that don’t matter to you.

Many years ago, at the age of 23, I had a job in which my role was split between helping many different colleagues at Boston’s public television station. About 20% of my time involved helping the station’s president. Guess what? Anytime the president needed something, I made that my priority.

There were three reasons for this. First, the work we were doing – securing major gifts for a capital campaign – was far more important than anything else on my plate. Second, I learned much more from the president than anyone else. For example, he taught me how to write, by editing mercilessly the letters I sometimes drafted for his signature. Third, he was the most senior person at the station; I wanted to impress him.

Can you state your current priorities with similar clarity?

It’s incredibly easy to drift into a set of habits that waste your time. I won’t chronicle them here, because each of us has different ways to let our precious time slip away.

My intention isn’t to tell you what your priorities should be. It isn’t to give you yet another timesaving gimmick. No, my goal is very simple: to simply remind you to focus today on the few things that really, truly matter to you. Do this three weeks in a row, and it will become a habit.

I’d write more, but it doesn’t make sense to waste your time.

-Bruce Kasanoff,


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