Do you know that there are time thieves everywhere and are trying to steal away of your time? It is sad to know that not many people take any action on these time thieves and some even not aware of it. As Thomas Edison said “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can't afford to lose". Time is non-renewable resource. There is no point of keep saving time but at the same time someone are stealing away your time. Therefore, your effectiveness in identifying the time thieves and overcome them is critical in order for you to achieve higher productivity and better time management goal.
Below are some of the hidden time thieves that we must know and minimize them
1. Handling Other People's Problems
A lot of people tend to take advantage other people time by requesting for help. Probably the most dangerous word is “just". Example, “Can you just . . ?". If you are inability to say “No", then you will end up solving their problem at the expense of your own time. Some of them even ask for help without trying to solve it by themselves. Helping others is noble but not causing your own problem remains unresolved.
2. Telephone and Unscheduled Visitors Interruptions
It is very distracting to answer phone calls or visitors while you are busy working on something. These interrupters are not limited from your colleagues but could be from your friends, relatives, or even from your loved one. Once you have completed the conversation, you have to recall where you have stopped and motivate yourself to resume your work. One way you can do is set a specific time period for incoming call and get your secretary or receptionist to inform all the callers to call back during that time period.
A lot of meetings are unnecessary as sometime the person who called for the meeting would like you just to show your face in the meeting or want to get a faster answer from you in case of any question arises. Even worse, some managers or bosses often call for unscheduled meetings. Sometime you may attend meetings without knowing the agenda of the meetings. There are cases where the bosses expect you to recall what have been discussed during the last meeting. Always check with the chairman of the meeting for objectives of a meeting. If you find your present is not required or some other people is more qualified to attend it, suggest it and excuse yourself from the meeting.
Edward Young called procrastination as thief of time. Often people procrastinate when they are indecisive on the next cause of action. They fear of making mistake by taking the wrong steps. Some of them could be due to laziness or not motivated to work on a task. You need to find out the root cause of this problem or could it be any of the above mentioned causes. Try to overcome this problem by reading some self-help books, listen to tapes, attend motivation seminar or even self-hypnosis.
Someone may ask you “Got a minute?" These are people who want to spend time with you on non-job related subjects. Again, they could be incoming calls, drop-in visitors and colleagues. Socializing is important as part of rapport building with customers, colleagues or team but you need to be careful, not to let socializing affects your job productivity. Therefore, you need to evaluate whether the time invested is justifiable with the return and the priority of your current task. If it is worthwhile and your current task is low priority, then just accept it. Otherwise, you can either postpone it or decline it for this round.
You can discover more time thieves by logging down your daily activities in a time log and review it at the end of the day. You may discover some expected or unexpected activities or tasks that have chewed up your time. Only consistent review and proactive action can ensure a better time manager.
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