In TV news we use the term “hit time” a lot. It means the time that your story will be “hitting the air.” We will say “what time is your hit?” or “this hits in 10 minutes,” or “are you going to make your hit?” Using strict deadlines in the news business works — the newscast will carry on with or without you. So you better be prepared and make your hit time. I’ve carried over the idea of hit times into my daily life.
Using the “Hit Time” Method
When I get dressed in the morning I have several “hit times” where I know if I’m not doing a certain thing at that time — I will be late. For instance — if I’m not out of the shower by 7:15am — I won’t be able to do my hair, makeup, eat breakfast, read the newspaper and check my email. I like doing all those things (and yoga) before I leave in the morning. I know by this “hit time” what I have time to do and what I can’t do so I can still make it to work at a reasonable time.
At work (and at home for that matter) — I almost never take a phone call unless it’s been prearranged. I like to have that “hit time” so I can prepare and give that person my undivided attention. If you tell me that you’re going to call me at 9:30 AM I will have done my homework for that phone call, I will be sitting at my desk ready to go and there will be nothing else on my plate at that time. I’ll be able to the devote my entire time to you.
Why It Works
How many times have you be distracted from what you’re doing because the phone rang and you picked it up? It’s happened far too many times to me and that’s why I’ve enacted the official “hit time” rule with me and the phone. If you are in the middle of doing something else and you pick up the phone — you are not entrenched in another project and the one you are working on is just dangling there. This sets you up for failure and you may never get back on track because other projects will pile up.
If you have a systematic way to get everything done in a certain amount of time — it will get done. Devote real time to each project and allow yourself time to work on one thing at a time.
Having “hit times” for tasks will make you so much more efficient. You will be able to prepare in advance, and conduct the phone call or whatever you assign a time to without interruptions. These will be shorter discussions because you will be totally focused on just that task.