Traffics Fines and Penalties in Vietnam: Know the Risks!

By: City Pass Guide

We tell you what happens if you are caught speeding, not wearing a helmet or seatbelt or using a phone while driving, plus, the cost of parking fines in Vietnam.

traffics fines and penalties in vietnamImage source: Chris Goldberg

You break the law and you are arrested

If you are caught red-handed — for instance if you have forgotten a turn signal or crossed into the wrong lane — in the sight of a policeman, they will walk into the street, point at you with their brightly colored torch, and motion for you to pull over. Beautiful girls and owners of brand new motorcycles have the reputation of being arrested more often.

Good to know: Traffic policemen are obliged by law to salute you when they stop you.

Do not try to escape

Some expats will advise you to pretend not seeing the policemen and ignore them or run away. We think you shouldn't. Trying to avoid them could possibly lead to an accident with another motorist or worse, the police getting on their bikes to chase you down. This will almost definitely lead to your bike being impounded on top of a hefty fine.

Pay a fine or pay a bribe?

Once you have been pulled over, the amount you pay will depend on how much Vietnamese you speak and what paperwork you have. If you pretend to not know Vietnamese, English, or even French, you might be able to get away without paying anything in some cases.

Another trick that seems to work is to talk gibberish and gesticulate: If they feel they are losing their time with you, they might let you go. This will only be an effective way to dodge a fine if the infraction you committed is minor.

traffics fines and penalties in vietnamImage source: baocantho.com.vn

If you are not a good actor/actress, then you will have to pay.

If your paperwork is in order (valid license, vehicle registration, insurance, passport), the only right and legal way to follow is to take the ticket and pay it within a couple weeks at the tax office. However, if you choose this solution, the police officer has the right to confiscate your vehicle’s registration. He may also take your license for extreme cases (read Tips for Buying or Renting a Motorbike in Vietnam for more information).

According to Circular No. 48/2014/TT-BGTVT, any foreigner or Vietnamese citizen residing overseas that wishes to drive in Vietnam shall:

a) Follow procedures for replacing an equivalent driving license of Vietnam if that person already has a national driving license;

b) Be permitted to operate the types of vehicles written on the international driving license without having to replace it with a Vietnam’s driving license if that person already has an international driving license issued by a competent authority of a member state of Convention on Road Traffic 1968;

c) In case an international agreement on driving license to which Vietnam is a signatory prescribes otherwise, such international agreement shall apply.

Even though it is the correct way to do things, it is usually a hassle for both the policemen and for you. To exacerbate the situation, the place to pay your fine might not be where they are keeping your registration license.

Because of these complications, most people choose to pay the fine directly to the cop and to get on with their day. These ‘fines’ can range from VND100,000 - 200,000 for motorbikes and VND500,000 - 1 million cars. Beware that they can be higher than the actual cost of the ticket. The amount will vary depending on your language proficiency, the type of vehicle, and the condition that it is in. Please note that only police wearing brown uniforms are allowed to issue fines and handle traffic violation. Without it, they cannot legally pull you over.

The Consequences: How much will you be fined?

Concerning fines, below is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay if you’re fined according to Decree No. 171/2013/NĐ-CP

 

Behavior or violation

 

Fines (VND)

Temporary keeping your motor (day)

Taking away driving license (day)

Excessive speed from 5 - under 10 km/h

100,000 - 200,000

0

0

Excessive speed from 10 - 20 km/h

500,000 - 1,000,000

0

0

Excessive speed over 20 km/h

2,000,000 - 3,000,000

0

30

Passing at the prohibited area

500,000 - 1,000,000

0

0

Driving in prohibited area, opposite side

200,000 - 400,000

0

30

Driving in wrong path of road or lane

200,000 - 400,000

0

0

Non-compliance with the signal of traffic lights

200,000 - 400,000

0

30

Non-compliance with the command of traffic controller

200,000 - 400,000

0

30

Changing direction without reducing speed

200,000 - 400,000

0

0

Changing direction without the signal informing turning direction

200,000 - 400,000

0

0

Level of alcohol in the blood over 0.25mg - 0.4mg/l

500,000 - 1,000,000

7

30

Level of alcohol in the blood over 0.4mg/l

2,000,000 - 3,000,000

7

60

Non-compliance with checking for the levels of alcohol in the blood

2,000,000 - 3,000,000

7

60

Not carrying Registered Certificate of motor, Driving License

80,000 - 120,000

0

0

No carrying insurance Certificate of Motor

80,000 - 120,000

0

0

Not owning a driving license

800,000 - 1,200,000

7

0

Not owning a Registered Certificate of motor

300,000 - 400,000

7

0

Driving a motor with capacity over 175 cm³ without driving license

4,000,000 - 6,000,000

7

0

No wearing helmet

100,000 - 200,000

0

0

Using phone when driving

60,000 - 80,000

0

0

Pulling or pushing other vehicles

200,000 - 400,000

0

0

Taking off 2 hands while driving

5,000,000 - 7,000,000

7

60

Weaving when driving

5,000,000 - 7,000,000

7

60

Driving on one wheel (to 2-wheel vehicle)

5,000,000 - 7,000,000

7

60

Driving self-assembly or self-produced vehicles

800,000 - 1,000,000

confiscating vehicle

60

Overall, after several years living in Vietnam, policemen have only stopped me a few times. Unlike some other Asian countries, it does not seem that the local police are targeting foreigners in particular. If you have all your documents in order and follow the traffic rules, you don't have to worry about being arrested or harassed. If you’ve had a different experience to me, please let us know by posting a comment below!

More information about traffic and driving in Vietnam:

Top 5 Tips for Renting a Motorbike

How to Cross the Road in Vietnam?

Banner Image source: blog.hoozing.com


Identity: American Viet Kieu Millenials

By: JK Hobson

Tax breaks and other benefits for Vietnamese sojourners who return to Vietnam

Reverse Migration is Having a Considerable Effect on Vietnamese Culture and Economy

The Overseas Vietnamese Coming Home Experience is Largely Positive

More than ever, in places like the US, the UK and the EU, immigration is a hot-button topic. Whether this influx of immigration is welcomed with open arms or met with derision, there is an intuitive understanding by most as to why these immigrants and asylum-seekers look to transition from their homelands to new territories in search of greener pastures. It’s a no-brainer, as the countries they gravitate towards have better economies and generally higher standards of living.

While it is true that most Vietnamese immigration moves outward and overseas from Vietnam to the West, there is a significant population of foreign-born of Vietnamese descent who are repatriating to the homeland of their ancestors. What drives Vietnamese-American millennials to return to Vietnam to live, and what effects do these migrations have on their identities, and Vietnam as a developing economy?

What Does it Mean to Be Vietnamese-American?

The term “Viet Kieu, which literally translates as “Vietnamese sojourner” originally had a derogatory connotation, but these days the phrase is more benignly used to distinguish people of Vietnamese descent who live in the diaspora. Since 2004, the term has also indicated a legal status, as the communist government at that time officially declared “Viet Kieu” living abroad as being a vital part of the Vietnamese community.

Vietnamese American Repatriation in VietnamImage source: lawyer-monthly.com

In 2007, the “Viet Kieu” status became more highly elevated when the government began making exemptions for members of the diaspora who could prove that they were of Vietnamese descent. Presently overseas Vietnamese or “Viet Kieu” benefit from tax breaks, loosened restrictions on business licences and property ownership, in addition to having the ability to bring to the country foreign spouses and progeny.

Vietnamese-Americans Changing Society and Economy in Vietnam

The reestablishment of these connections, including repatriation by Vietnamese-Americans, has from the onset had a considerable impact across the country. Remittances have always contributed greatly towards the Vietnam economy. In 2017, the US$13.8 billion in remittances it received accounted for 6.7% of the economy, with Ho Chi Minh city receiving a US$5.2 billion share. Overseas Vietnamese entrepreneurs have played a significant role in reshaping the cultural and economic landscapes. As Peter Cuong Franklin, chef-owner at the new-school restaurant ănăn explained to Vice Magazine... 

“Viet Kieus are making great contributions in the creative fields such as food, art, literature, music and fashion. They bring an international perspective and help to connect Vietnam with the rest of the world”.

Vietnamese American Repatriation in VietnamImage source: gdb.voanews.com

Family and Reasons for the Return ‘Home’

For many Vietnamese American millennials, repatriation is a step towards bridging complicated and deep familial chasms following their parents move to the US after the Vietnamese resistance.

Chrissa Nguyen, 29, is a Vietnamese American makeup artist with her own business that does creative party makeup and costuming for special events, and is a live performer. She spoke with #iAMHCMC about her experiences living in the state of North Dakota, and her migration to Vietnam, her parents’ homeland. 

“I always knew I’d come back to Vietnam. The area I lived in was very White, but my parents raised me in a very Vietnamese household, studying the language, and eating almost exclusively Vietnamese food. When I was young I didn't fit in. I always knew I wanted to come back to Vietnam”.

Vietnamese American Repatriation in VietnamImage source: Chrissa Nguyen

When asked about how her family felt about her decision to repatriate to Vietnam, she explained, “They were really unhappy, because I think as is with a lot of Vietnamese there's a lot of trauma from war and what life was like after the war. Now they see that I'm happy here, so they've totally come to terms with it and accepted it. I don't know if they'll ever visit me here. I don't really have hopes for that. I think they realise that I'm a lot happier here than I ever was in the US and that's what matters to them now”.

Christina Bui, 26, a Vietnamese American woman from Virginia, USA, and project coordinator for the non-profit organisation Pacific Links Foundation, has been a resident of Vietnam since 2015. Like Chrissa, she was met with resistance when expressing her desire to move to Vietnam to her parents. Her mother and father both emigrated to the United States, after Vietnam’s successful resistance, in 1975 and 1986 respectively.

“They hated it at first. I encountered a very strong pushback, especially from my mom, who was vehemently against it (which was understandable given the trauma my family experienced). After talking to my boss on the phone (for three hours, no less) and meeting her in person, my mom became a bit more ‘OK’ with me going. (Also because she thought I’d only be gone for a year! Little did any of us know…)”.

Opportunities Abound

Vietnamese-Americans in Vietnam often find more job opportunities and enjoy a higher level of status than they do back in the United States. Many of them are bilingual, but speak English with a native accent, which both makes them valuable in the job market and gives them a lot of social mobility. Some also express that they feel a greater amount of freedom in Vietnam than they even did in the states. ‘Yeah, I pretty much do whatever I want! It's really great, because coming from New York City which was my home for over ten years, I feel pretty New York in a way. But here, I feel so much more free, and so much more able to freely express myself than I can in New York. I did creative stuff in New York, but not like the stuff I'm doing here. It was hard to think of myself as artistic or anything before I came here. Coming from America, and especially New York oh, you get a lot of “Oh, this country is the best! There's nowhere better than New York. New York is the best! You have the best of everything here!” I was attaching myself to that. I almost wondered how I could be cool outside of New York. I realized after a while that although I love New York, I was never happy there.”

Vietnamese American Repatriation in VietnamImage source: savvytokyo.com

Identity Through Repatriation

For many Vietnamese American millennials, coming to Vietnam helps them to achieve a deeper sense of self, having straddled both Vietnamese and Western identities. 

Chrissa says, “It was difficult when I first came because growing up the way that I did, in between two cultures. Not being White, I couldn't really identify with being American. Coming here I thought that because I grew up in a really Vietnamese household that I understood and knew Vietnamese culture. I had to let go everything that I thought I knew about Vietnamese culture, and also part of my identity. Like, ‘Oh, I'm not actually Vietnamese’. That was something I had to reset in my mind, but it was actually quite freeing to let go of these identity markers. I'm not Vietnamese, I'm not even American. I'm not any of these labels that people assigned to you because of how you look or how you speak”.

Vietnamese American Repatriation in VietnamImage source: tapchihoaky.com

Christina echoes Chrissa’s sentiment... 

“I think I’m more certain of my dual identity now—neither completely American nor completely Vietnamese. At times I feel ‘too American’ for Vietnamese people, and ‘too Vietnamese’ for Americans, but I’ve grown to be more comfortable with those labels. And, of course, it becomes a point of pride to be lauded by my Vietnamese coworkers that I’ve become ‘real Vietnam-Vietnamese’, since it does say something about my assimilation here”.

Chrissa reflects on her consistent excitement about living in Saigon, "It hits me every day. I'll be in traffic and see some signs in Vietnamese or I'll see a guy welding something wearing sunglasses and think, ‘Oh, my god. I live here!’"

Banner Image source: videoblocks.com


7 Saigon Bloggers You Must Bookmark Now

By: Aleksandr Smechov

Saigon’s tourism scene is stuck on a plateau. Unlike other popular destinations like Bangkok, New York, Paris, etc., all is not revealed – secrets remain and an air of mystery still permeates even rudimentary tasks like going to a doctor and understanding traffic patterns. There’s a severe lack of official documentation and foreign language support that grants Ho Chi Minh City an air of impenetrability at times. Some times, to the point of utter frustration.

Our only hope, it seems, are the bloggers who brave the alien terrains of shouting ladies and incomprehensible signs to discover, transcribe and inform the confused community of expats and visitors. 

To save us all from bashing our heads against the wall when we order sautéed beef and get an avocado smoothie instead, we present a motley group of Content Heroes who provide us with the ins and outs necessary to experience the oohs and ahhs, without as much of the ughs and pffts. 

 

Rusty Compass

Cool stuff about Mark’s blog:

• A one-man powerhouse who produces consistent quality content on HCMC and around

• Well-structured website makes navigation easy

• Great pictures

• Observations are candid and nuanced

Rusty Compass features the lovable shiny-head Mark Bowyer, an Asia explorer since 1988. Mark has some cool guides for Vietnam and Cambodia, but his blog section is where his personality really sparkles. 

You get articles carefully eyeing the good and the bad of Saigon’s idiosyncrasies, with sensitive issues like the Cu Chi tunnel’s firing range and a potentially bland future for the city brought to light and discussed in Mark’s signature erudite manner. 

Mark also takes excellent photos.

Standout article: The Last President’s Driver

 

Andy Goes to Asia

Cool stuff about Andy: 

● Articles are written for the everyday expat

● Includes travel blogs, but also what it’s like to live here and work for a living

● Focuses a lot on storytelling

● Explains details that may seem confusing to expats, like the motorbike culture

● Well written, fun, blunt and helpful

A simple Wordpress blog, Andy Goes to Asia details the AsiaLIFE writer’s observations and travels in Vietnam. 

The blogs steady between practical and entertaining, are well written (Andy’s an English literature major, after all), easy to read and quite useful. “The Motorbikes of Saigon” sheds some light on Ho Chi Minh City’s chaotic motorbike culture, giving nuanced advice on where to rent, the 2007 helmet law, unpredictable obstacles and more. 

Standout article: The Motorbikes of Saigon

 

Adventure Faktory

Cool stuff about the AF duo: 

● Best layout/presentation of the bunch

● Content is broken down by topics

● Cool pictures

● Content is both practical (who expats date in the city) and related to experiencing the city (restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.) 

The cleanest, most well-laid-out site on the list, Adventure Faktory is a sexy travel blog with quality photos and a simple writing style that’s easy to get into. 

Written by world travelers Mitch and Thuymi, the blog is broken down into simple categories like “Travel,” “Sports & Adventure,” “Lifestyle” and more. Articles are practical and for the most part focused on venues and experiences (like “Fashion Boutiques in Saigon,” “Oktoberfest in Saigon” and “Ho Chi Minh City’s Coffee Culture”), and are chock full of cool Instagram-worthy shots. 

Standout article: The Ultimate Saigon Cafes List

 

Elka Ray

Cool stuff about Elka: 

● Tends to focus on short pieces targeted at the day-to-day goings-on

● Includes nicephotos and interesting stories – even a dash of humor thrown in

● Great writing

Elka Ray is a storyteller, and thus provides a more personal account of her daily life in Vietnam. Author and illustrator, Elka moved to the country in 1996, and has since started a family. 

The blog rotates around her family life at home, daily observations and insights and random musings. It’s a much different tone than others on the list, and the information leans more towards musings rather than practical advice, although there are some venue profiles.

Entries are fun, very well-written and a great read for anyone living in and experiencing the ups and downs of Vietnam.

Standout article: Scraps of history

 

Hello Saigon

 

Cool stuff about HS:

● Articles tend to focus on reviews of different attractions, hotels and venues around the city

● Site is streamlined and mobile friendly – tons of pictures and short-form content

● Does a lot of work with food discussions and where the best places to eat are

● Blogger is active and a regular poster

Hello Saigon boasts a constant stream of entries on Ho Chi Minh City’s active scene, including venues, events, food trips and travels to other cities. This is the most streamlined site of the bunch, and consists of a continuous river of bite-sized articles broken up by relevant pictures (1-2 sentences + picture, 1-2 sentences + picture, repeat). 

It’s really freaking easy to read, is fun to scroll through and is quite practical, especially with the flood of photos. The writing is simple and light-hearted, and the content is very snug on mobiles.

Standout article: A Relaxing Stay at Salinda Resort

 

City Pass Guide

Cool stuff about City Pass: 

• Self-explanatory (kidding)

• Large back catalog of blogs from a diverse team of writers and guest bloggers

• Long-form content may put off the ADD crowd, but articles are informative and delve deep into their subject matter

• Interview with experts on various destinations

• Blogs cover tourism industry, various lists, events and more

We City Pass Guide is known around town as the free guidebook distributed at fancy shmancy resorts and hotels. Their online counterpart is focused on venue listings, but there is a dedicated blog section that is quite useful if you want to dive deeper into Vietnam’s tourism market, learn about grand opening, unique events, or scroll through various lists (ex. top 5 Vietnamese love sayings, top 7 honeymoon resorts, etc.).

Articles are written by staff writers or guests from various industries, are relatively lengthy but go well with a glass of pinot noir and a bag of Poca chips.

Standout article: The Declining State of Tourism in Vietnam – And How We Can Help

 

Sketchpacker

Cool stuff about Zoe:

● The blog features creative sketches of Saigon’s life and locals

● Zoe’s gonzo, down-to-earth observations are fun to read

● Blogs are both informative and very well written

Like Wix-using Andy above, Zoe hardly needs anything more than a free Wordpress blog to suck in readers with surreal sketches, disarmingly honest prose and a gonzo wit about her observations.

Blogs detail living on a severely limited budget (eggs, baguettes and VND 10,000 drinks every day? No problem), unspoken rules of the road, living in a shack on Phu Quoc for a week, children helping administer heroine to their mothers (yep…) and many more gems.

Standout article: Saigon’s Darkest Secrets

 


5 photo tips for travelers in Vietnam

By: Vinh Dao

How to capture and keep the Vietnamese breathtaking moment?

For shutterbugs, Vietnam is a paradise full of photographic opportunities. Whether you are into landscapes, street or even food photography, Vietnam has it all. We have put together five tips for taking photos in this picturesque country.

1. Be respectful. When taking photos of people, take the slow approach. Usually a smile or a gesture to your camera is all it takes for someone to allow you to take their photo.

Local insight: Monks and nuns make for great portraiture subjects.

2. Wake up early. When the first rays of sunlight head across the horizon, the light created is softer and colours are warmer and more saturated. Though this effect lasts usually lasts longer than one hour, photographers call this the Golden Hour.

Local insight: The Golden Hour is a great opportunity to snap some images of Hanoians exercising around Hoan Kiem Lake.

3. Take a tripod. This is a must for taking landscape photos and when the light is fading when shutter speeds are slower.

Local insight: Light streaks from the manic traffic in Saigon’s District 1 will create an ethereal feel to any image.

4. Read up about your destination. Finding a relevant tidbit where you are shooting can make the difference of turning a great shot into something stunning.

Local insight: The best time to take photos in Sapa is before the harvest from mid-September to early October when the rice fields are a bright yellow.

5. Use your camera strap. Sling the strap around your neck or across your shoulder to prevent an opportunistic thief from nicking your camera.

Local insight: When walking around in major cities, this is a must as motorbike thieves are drawn to cameras like moths to a flame.


Other articles:

Top 5 tips for crossing the street in Vietnam

Top 5 photo tips for travelers in Vietnam

Top 5 tips to rent a motorbike in Vietnam

5 tips to manage your online reputation on Tripadvisor

5 tips of preparation for better score at golf

5 tips to take pictures of fireworks in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi

Top 5 tips for preventing theft in Vietnam

The art of bargaining in Vietnam

Tips to spot and avoid scam and pick pocket


The East Sea Dispute Cost Vietnam One Million Hotel Nights In Five Months

By: Mark Gwyther

I’ve been asked several times just how badly Vietnam’s hospitality business was affected by problems resulting from the East Sea dispute with China. From the investor’s point of view, it is much worse than most people realize.

Back in April (the anti-Chinese riots occurred mid-May) Vietnam’s inbound international arrivals were up 27% for the year, buoyed by a 47% increase in Chinese visitors. Danang resorts, built in anticipation of these new Chinese tourists, began filling up. The amount of direct flights from China to Hanoi, Danang, and Cam Ranh increased almost weekly. Peter Ryder, the CEO of Indochina Land said, “Right now we’re at an inflection point with supply and demand. But I see demand outstripping supply within the next 12 months.” 1

Vietnam hospitality was poised to have a huge year.

Bull

First Impressions

At first it did not look so bad; at least from an outsider’s perspective. When the tourism numbers were announced at the end of May the Vietnamese media reported the East Sea dispute was not having much of an impact since the number of Chinese arrivals was still up 30% for the month compared to the year before. People in the business handling the thousands of cancellations and seeing the empty rooms didn’t believe the numbers.

But those numbers included the first half of May in which Chinese arrivals were most likely up around 50%, meaning the second half of the month experienced a precipitous drop. Another factor leading to a lack of understanding of the impact was how VNAT reports statistics. Monthly international inbound statistics are released around the 25th of the month-meaning they estimate the final few days using data from the entire month.

China and Vietnam

The Actual Cost

As the summer wore on it became very apparent to everyone that the East Sea dispute had significant implications for tourism. Vietnam’s inbound growth rate began sinking like a ship taking on water; steadily dropping from 27% in April to 10% by the end of September. Still, most media didn’t recognize or didn’t report the real damage of opportunity costs.

China

In 2013, more than a quarter of all international visitors to Vietnam were Chinese. The Chinese market is bigger than the next three countries combined. Of course many of those visitors cross the northern border to trade, but that proportion has been decreasing. China’s burgeoning middle-class’s economic influence on Vietnam is hardly surprising as most countries throughout the world are experiencing large growth in the number of Chinese inbounds. China's government is also aware of the flow of outbound riches and it is well equipped and prepared to stop this flow to meet political objectives.

Chinese Arrivals to Vietnam

Chinese Tourists

What is important to understand and very few people have noticed, is that the growth rate in Chinese arrivals to Vietnam is not only growing, but the growth rate is growing as well. In calculus it’s called the second order derivative; in real life it is called accelerated growth.

When estimating how many tourists Vietnam lost, we must forecast the regular growth plus the additional amount from increasing growth rates. For the first four months of 2014, Chinese increased 48% from the previous year. This growth rate was accelerating at about 1.5% per month, which means if we had forecasted Chinese arrivals back in April, we’d have come up with this prediction.

 May 14June 14July 14Aug 14Sep 144 Month Total
2013 Chinese Visitors 148,606 129,577 173,257 190,358 169,682 811,480
Expected Growth (48%) 71,331 62,197 83,163 91,372 81,447 389,510
Accelerated Growth 2,330 3,887 7,796 11,421 12,726 38,160
Expected Total 222,267 195,661 264,217 293,151 263,856 1,200,990
Actual Total 194,018 136,726 123,442 135,170 148,895 738,251
Difference 28,249 58,925 140,775 157,981 114,961 462,739


That's over 450,000 visitors that should have arrived but didn’t. If the average stay is over 4 nights with double occupancy,we are discussing a million room nights lost in five months.Like rotting fruit, that inventory is lost forever. Developers and investors were anticipating growth in the Chinese outbound market and instead it suddenly shrunk dramatically.

China Back off

What’s Next?

This is not the first time the Chinese Government has used its outbound tourists as an economic weapon against another country. In May 2012, they advised travel agencies (many which are state-owned) to cancel tours to The Philippines because of protests at the Chinese embassy in Manila. They lifted the ban several months later and Chinese arrivals to The Philippines increased by 70% in 20132. That would seem to indicate the Chinese travelers will come back rapidly once relations begin to normalize.


1: http://thedevelopmentadvisor.com/news/vietnam-danang-resort-villa-condominium-market/
2: The Chinese government re-instated its travel warnings to The Philippines last month.


Increase Your Effectiveness by Managing Your Time

By: Victor Burrill

“Effectiveness is a habit and that you can improve through practice.” - Peter F. Drucker

We all have the same amount of time so why does it seem that some people are able to get more out of their day. Believe it or not, they have learnt the skill of how to properly manage their time to build their effectiveness. You too can learn this valuable skill and no matter how long you’ve been in the workplace, it’s never too late to learn.

Goal Setting

After getting to know my clients, one of the first things I ask them is ‘where do you want to be?’ One way I sometimes ask this is ‘What would be different say in two years’ time from now?’

Setting goals, or knowing which direction you are going is fundamental in clarifying your ideas, focusing your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be SMART which is:

- Specific (clear and concise).

- Measurable (the ability to track your progress).

- Achievable (challenging yet attainable).

- Relevant (set goals that are relevant to your overall plan).

- Time bound (goals should have a target finish time attached).

The Power of Focus

Tim Cook, the COO of Apple said “We are the most focused company that I know of or have read of or have any knowledge of. We say no to good ideas every day. We say no to great ideas in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose.” Like Apple’s success, you too can achieve amazing results on focusing your efforts and doing a good job on those things you decided to do and eliminating unimportant opportunities.

Time Management

Keeping the amount of goals you have to less than three increases the likelihood that you will reach them all with excellence. Statistics show that those who have more than four goals are likely to achieve only 1 or 2 of them. If you have over 11 goals, you are unlikely to reach any.

Learning to say ‘NO’ is a skill many successful people have mastered. Take billionaire Warren Buffett, for example. With all the demands on him, Buffett learned a long time ago that his most valuable resource is his time. He has mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. The mega-mogul once said, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

Executive coaching guru, Dr. Marshal Goldsmith says that one of the greatest lessons Peter Drucker taught him is:

“We spend a lot of time helping leaders learn what to do. We do not spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half of the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”

As a coach, I have found that much of my work is helping leaders work out what they need to stop doing in order to focus on their most important priorities.

You may also want to start by looking at your schedule or to-do-list every day and for simplicity try to get down five tasks you need to accomplish. Using the principle you can probably eliminate the majority of the items on your list. It may feel unnatural at first but overtime this will condition you to scale up effort on the most important tasks.

Learning How You Spend Time Will Help You Save Time

When it comes to managing your time, you may need to find out where your time actually goes. You may believe that you only send 30 minutes on emails, but in reality that task might be eating-up an hour of your day. The easiest way to keep track of your time is to download an app like RescueTime, Toggl or my app Calendar to track everything you do in a week. You can then find out what’s stealing your time and make the appropriate adjustments.I've found that setting a time limit to each task prevents me from getting distracted or procrastinating. if I don’t complete the task on time, I can still work on it without eating into the time reserved for something else.

Virtual meetings - thanks to rapidly advancing technology, we have more and more choice on ways to run a meeting. Of course, to say that online meetings can simply replace all face-to-face meetings is unrealistic.

Batching similar tasks together such as emails and phone calls. I know effective managers who schedule a specific time to handle these tasks such as late morning and towards the end of the day.

I also plan my week to avoid wasting time waiting. If I do find that I have a delay, I make the best of it. For example, whist waiting I’ll read an inspirational book, listen to a podcast, or make those important calls.

Time Management

Delegation and outsourcing can get a bit difficult for some but are real time-savers since it lessens your workload - which means you have more time to spend on more important tasks. Either hand over responsibilities to team members who are qualified or hire an experienced freelancer. Time training will be worth-it in the end.

Leaving a buffer-time between tasks and meetings can help performance. Jumping immediately from one task or meeting to the next may seem like a good use of your time, but it actually has the opposite effect. We need time to clear our minds and recharge. After all, the human brain can only focus for about 90-minutes at a time. Without that break it’s more difficult to stay focused and motivated. Scheduling buffer-time also can prevent running late to your next meeting.

The Power of Planning

A lot of successful leaders spend time thinking on how they will achieve their priorities. Spending time planning keeps you focused on your goals as well as giving you the opportunity to build contingency for a possible crisis and help you work out how to avoid interruptions.

One of the worst things that you can do is wake-up without a plan for the day. Before leaving work for the day, spend the last 15-minutes organizing your office and composing a list of your most important items for tomorrow. During your morning routine write down the 3 or 4 most urgent and important matters that need to be addressed today and work on those when you’re most productive.

Spend your mornings on your most important tasks (MIT’s). Mark Twain once said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." Gross? Sure. But, the point that Twain was making that you should take care your biggest and most-challenging tasks in the morning, aka your most important tasks (MITs) of the day.

There are a couple reasons why this is such an effective time management trick. For starters, you usually have the most amount of energy in the morning. So it’s better to tackle these tasks when you’re not drained. Also, you can use that feeling of accomplishment to get through the rest of the day.

Be Energized and Inspired

There is a reason why successful leaders exercise regally. Even a short burst of fun cardio activity works wonders, especially in the morning. This is because exercise releases endorphins, serotonin, and other happy chemicals in your brain. According to renowned psychologist Shawn Achor, the reason why exercise is so key to your morning routine is that it literally trains your brain to believe "my behavior matters," which then carries (positively) into other activities throughout the day. And for procrastinators, exercising when you least feel like it is when it does the most good.

Time Management

I use inspirational sources like a TED Talk or biography. It’s a simple way to reignite that fire to get me motivated and back-on-track.

Change your schedule. If you’re reading this article then it’s obviously because you want to discover some useful time management skills. If you’re struggling with being effective, the solution may be as simple as changing your schedule around. For example, instead of sleeping-in until 6:30am, wake-up an hour earlier. Personally, I find 5:15am to be the most productive time of the day since it gives me time to exercise, plan-out my day, go through my emails, and even work on side projects without being disturbed.

*Victor Burrill is an internationally certified coach, leadership trainer and is Chairman of the Business Executive Network Vietnam.

Image source: Shutter Stock

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