Time Wasters Anonymous: How do I Retire from this Club?

Last month we started our focus on Time Management.  This is such a big topic and has so much relevancy to us in the workplace that we are going to focus on time wasters.

Considering the speed at which business moves these days, one thing is certain.  If you can’t manage your time effectively, you will have a hard time managing anything else. Yet most people waste precious minutes, hours even days with old habits that they don’t even realize they are doing.  They don’t realize that there are alternatives and strategies to the classic time wasters which are depleting their energy and impeding their productivity and efficiently.

The problem is time can’t be managed – despite time flying,  running out of time, or bemoaning there just isn’t enough time, you won’t get
anymore than 24 hours in a day. What time wasters don’t realize that it is  really “self-management”  that is the  goal.  There are many time wasters –  which are your favorites:

What Are Your Time Wasters?

Listed below are the most common time wasters.  Check the items that are time wasters for you.

  • Telephone interruptions
  • Drop-in visitors
  • Meetings (scheduled and unscheduled)
  • Unexpected crises
  • Lack of priorities/objectives/daily planning
  • Cluttered desk/personal disorganization
  • Ineffective delegation of responsibilities and too much involvement in routines and detail
  • Attempting too much at once and unrealistic time estimates
  • Poor communication with others/unclear instructions
  • Inadequate, inaccurate or delayed information
  • Confused responsibility/authority
  • Inability to say “no”
  • Tasks left unfinished
  • Lack of self-discipline
  • Procrastination or indecision
  • Mail (snail)
  • E-mail or Voice mail

How do you feel about these items – mostly people need to understand how out of control your workday really is.  You have to define these areas where you need to make changes in order to increase your productivity.

What’s Stopping You?

  •  Not deciding what deserves your time
  • Not letting go of unnecessary control
  • Not being assertive about your time
  • Being a perfectionist.

Before you can retire from this club, you have to first  evaluate what things you may be doing that are preventing you from getting
control over your life.

  1. Not deciding what deserves your time:  If you feel you consistently operate on the “squeeze it in” principle, you are not making choices about how to use your time.  It is absolutely necessary to take time to consider what your priorities are and operate from that perspective.  Once you do this, you may be surprised to find out how many low priority time wasters you actually engage in.
  2. Not letting go of unnecessary control:  Are you able to delegate responsibilities or have you convinced yourself that you can do tasks easier and better? Many times we allow our inability to relinquish control to bog us down.  It is important to know when we can delegate tasks and how to do delegation effectively.  This will free us up for tasks that are higher on our priority list.
  3. Not being assertive about your time: How easily is your time invaded? Are you able to work on what you think deserves your time, or do you respond to whomever needs you? Being able to say “no” allows you to put your time and energy into the priorities you have chosen for yourself.
  4. Being a perfectionist: This can be the most common source of time misuse and the most frequent reason for procrastination.  It is based on false assumptions about how things should be done.  People who expect perfection from themselves will spend inordinate amounts of
    time completing a task or avoid starting a task because they fear they
    will “fail” at being perfect.
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