Manage Yourself, Not Your Time
Some of us claim our days are never wasted. "I'm very organized,” we say, "I know where I am going and what I'm going to do." If you truly feel that way then you are in the minority. Most people become frustrated with a day that is unproductive. We would all like to get more done in a day.
There are common time wasters, which need to be identified!
Identifying your time stealers
- Interruptions - telephone
- Interruptions - personal visitors
- Tasks you should have delegated
- Procrastination and indecision
- Acting with incomplete information
- Dealing with team members
- Crisis management
- Unclear communication
- Inadequate technical knowledge
- Unclear objectives and priorities
- Lack of planning
- Stress and fatigue
- Inability to say "No"
- Desk management and personal disorganization
- Shifting priorities and crisis management. Management guru Peter Drucker says that "crisis management is actually the form of management preferred by most managers" The irony is that actions taken prior to the crisis could have prevented the crisis in the first place.
- The telephone. Have you ever had one of those days when you thought your true calling was in Telemarketing? The telephone-our greatest communication tool can be our biggest enemy to effectiveness if you don't know how to control its hold over you.
- Lack of priorities/objectives. This is probably the biggest/ most important time waster. It affects all we do both professionally and personally. Those who accomplish the most in a day know exactly what they want to accomplish. Unfortunately too many of us think that goals and objectives are yearly things and not daily considerations. This results in too much time spent on minor things and not on the things that are important to our lives.
- Attempting too much. Many people today feel that they have to accomplish everything from previous days and don't give themselves enough time to do things properly. This leads only to half finished projects and no feeling of achievement.
- Drop-in visitors. The five deadliest words that rob your time are "Have you got a minute". Everyone's the culprit- colleagues, bosses, and your peers. Knowing how to deal with interruptions is one of the best skills you can learn.
- Ineffective delegation. Good delegation is considered a key skill in both managers and leaders. The best leaders have an ability to delegate work to team members and ensure it is done correctly. This is probably the best way to build a team’s moral and reducing individual workloads at the same time. The general rule is this; if one of your team members can do the job 80% better, then delegate it.
- The cluttered desk. When you have finished reading this article look at your desk. If you can see less than 80% of it then you are probably suffering from 'desk stress'. The most effective people work from clear desks.
- Procrastination. The biggest thief of time- not decision making, but decision avoidance. By reducing the amount of procrastinating you do, you can substantially increase the amount of active time available to you!
- The inability to say "no!" The general rule is if people can dump their work or problems on to your shoulders, they will do it. Some of the most stressed people around lack the skill to 'just say no' for fear of upsetting people.
- Meetings. Studies have shown that the average manager spends about 17 hours a week in meetings and about 6 hours in the planning time and untold hours in the follow up. I recently spoke to an executive who has had in the last 3 months 250 meetings It is widely acknowledged that about as much of a third of the time spent in meetings is wasted due to poor meeting management and lack of planning.
- Always define your objectives as clearly as possible.
- Analyze your use of time.
- Have a plan.
- Action plans analysis.