Here’s an overview of the top ten time wasters based on the work of Tania Khadder.
Time is precious! Act wisely!
IM provides a great platform for “casual” communication. But if you have something that requires discussion (especially for decision-making or problem-solving) — act wisely — use the phone or e-mail.
How many e-mails do you received per day? Likely too many. In fact, the average knowledge worker spends 28% of his/her time managing e-mail.* Even worse, research shows that only 14% of e-mails are deemed to be critically important. Instead of over reliance on email, act wisely by making sure you are sending messages that people really need to have and never assume because you sent something, that people are reading and absorbing your message.
*McKinsey Global Institute Report
Instead of meandering meetings, act wisely! Try to limit meetings to no more than 45 minutes (30 minutes if possible) and six people (if you really want to get something done). Use short, tight agendas with only a few items. Send a short follow-up immediately after the meeting with “to dos,” summary of accomplishments, and next steps. And, use bullet points to keep the follow-up short and crisp!
Instead of back-to-back meetings, act wisely by spreading meetings out and do your best to have them either at the beginning or end of the day. Meet early when you need people fresh and “on their toes.” Meet late in the day when you want to have a meeting that’s short, focused, and to-the-point.
Instead of reacting to interruptions, act wisely. Schedule time for email and to return phone calls. Block out time for what’s most important first.
Instead of multi-tasking, act wisely by focusing on doing one thing at a time. All current research suggests multi-tasking is a myth. People think they can do many things at once and do them all well, but that’s simply not true. Properly configured computers can multi-task well. People can’t.
Looking for misplaced or hidden files and materials is a huge time waster. Instead of working in a disorganized workspace — act wisely! Clean up and get organized at the end of each day.
Instead of allowing yourself to spend time on personal issues all day long, act wisely by scheduling time at lunch or on breaks to focus on your personal must-dos. Never forget why you’re getting paid!
Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, and other sites are favorite destinations for employees at work but typically have nothing to do with work! Instead of taking frequent breaks to surf the web, act wisely by staying on task. Taking a break once a day is likely a good thing. But making it a habit — multiple times a day — is a huge waste of time.
Adopt one new idea and stick with it until it becomes a habit. Then try another performance improver.
Remember: Time is precious! Act wisely!
More about avoiding time wasters and building great time saver habits.
The world has gone “crazy” with distractions and staying focused, relevant, and productive is not easy! Many leaders continue to worry that even with frequent breaks for reading, tweeting, monitoring online news feeds, and otherwise trying to keep up and stay connected with the world around them that they continue to fall behind.
What should a leader do to stay current and up-to-date with what’s going on in his or her industry and still get complex work done?
Here are a few tips:
- Start by organizing and focusing your own attention. Stop wasting time and be clear about what matters. Attention is a limited commodity. Choose carefully based on your goals, the organization’s strategy, and your capacity. Trying to keep up with everything is a waste of time.
- Remember that what you focus on will strongly influence what people who work with you focus on. Leaders have more influence than many think. Best way to stop others from wasting time? Stop wasting it yourself.
- As you strengthen your ability to focus and pay attention to the right information, keep in mind that you also have to keep yourself attuned to the systems around you. Deciding what not to do is often as important as focusing on what to do.
- Toughen your muscles for concentration and focus. When you are with someone, be with them and do nothing else — even if you can only do it for 5 or 10 minutes. Keep at it. Try meditating — even 5 minutes is a good start. Strengthening your ability to focus is hard in today’s environment, but it will allow you rise above the pack. Turn off the time wasters and and make sure you’re tuned into what counts.
When it comes to spending time at work, we actually have less than we think.
You may also find this interesting — and helpful!
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. By Jocelyn Glei