Time Tip of the Day - Use the Phone
Yesterday I committed the oldest mistake in the book, going to a meeting without verifying that it was being held! It didn't help that this meeting water a couple hours a way and that the day before I saw a e-mail that said that the meeting was on, but what I missed was the 7pm email from the organizer saying that the meeting was cancelled because of snow! Aaargghh!
So here's my time tip of the day - Use the phone! I always tell the people who work under me that you should never assume that a meeting or jobsite activity is actually going to happen. I have seen it too many times that you show up only to be alone. So when you are dealing with contractors or maintenance staff, always coordinate directly with the person you are meeting with and call them before you get in your car because things change out in the field at the drop of a hat. Maintenance people get pulled away, contractors get pulled off a job for a day, and Vendors don't have the proper paperwork together. In the age of cellular phones, taking 30 seconds to call and confirm that you are still good to meet will save you a lot of heartache. On the flip side if you have set up a meeting and things get called off for one thing or another, don't rely on e-mail to cancel the meetings (especially the night before) call everyone up. This assumes that you have everyone's cell number but I you don't typically get this information maybe now is the time to start.
On a similar note, never assume that contractors, or whoever for that matter, will call you back. It's not going to happen, it's human nature. I've had people stew for days that so-and-so never called them back. Take some action, pick up the phone, and force the issue. All that time stewing could be put to better use elsewhere.
Okay, I'm going to call it good for now. The soapbox is yours.