Curiosity killed the Cat, Time and Efficiency

Frequently indulging your curiosity can have adverse effects on your time

Curiosity Killed the Cat, Time and EfficiencyWe all know that time is a great leveller, billionaire, millionaire, prince of pauper we all get the same amount of time to do with as we please. In this day and age most people realise this and make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of time that they waste during the day.

However Old Father Time has lots of tricks up his sleave, one of the key ones being his partnership with the Mother of Curiosity. We have all heard the saying that “Curiosity killed the cat” while in the world of “The Time Doctor” curiosity also kills time and efficiency. Do I have any email? I wonder if anyone has liked my cat video, how many twitter followers have I gained in the last hour and the list goes on. For many people sucumbing to their curiosity can ruin any attempts to improve their time management.

If you find yourself falling for the Mother of Curiosity:

Consider the following:

  1. Lost Time adds Up If you lose as little as 10 minutes of time everyday of the working week day, youwill lose the equvelent of a 40-working hours each year; yes an entire week. Do you sruggle to meet deadlines? Now you know part of the reason why.
  2. Loss of momentum. – Stopping what you’re doing to check to check your email or social media costs you more than just the time it takes to open your account and read your messages. They lose track of where they were with the task they were completing or in the worst cases forget what they were doing in the first place and start something different meaning they have lost focus and have many unfinished tasks leading to stress and procrastination.

Ok So What’s the answer?

  1. They can wait. – Despite what you may think, in most cases people can get away with checking their messages once or twice a day. I know your response, but it is critical to my job, trust me if someone needs to urgently get you they will find away.
  2. Plan and Schedule Reading Time. Get into the routine of checking email, texts and social media at specific times of the day. You might choose to deal with email in the middle of the morning and afternoon and social media at the end of the day. Whatever drives your curiosity, set aside some time each day to address it.
  3. Tell Others. Let everyone know about your work patterns you’ll be surprised how quickly they come round to your way of thinking, If they know that you only check your email between 4:45pm and 5:00pm, they’ll call you if they need to communicate something really important. They might even not bother at all which of course means less work for you. In addition, people won’t bother you with text messages during the day if they know you’re not going to answer them anytime soon. With less distractractions, you’ll find you are better able to better focus on your work.

We all have some of those are curiosity-based time wasters and in reality they are the most challenging things to address. The first step is acknowledging the amount of time we spend on them each year and the cost of that wasted time on us and others. You have to realise that this is time that you will never get back and it is time that could have been put to better use.

Most things are rarely urgent and can wait, how often do you really need to check your email, texts and social media? Tell people how you work and they will adapt to you, believe me you will not miss anything critical.

Take back control of your time. You’ll be glad you did!

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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14 thoughts on “Curiosity killed the Cat, Time and Efficiency

  1. Fab post again Mike. I do have my email reading times, and have limited my social times too (that one needs mre work!)

    One of my biggest issues is similar to John’s – other people who assume because you work at home that you’re not busy! My daughter is back living with me (she’s 22) and pretty well trained. She’s done her stint of freelancing from home so she’s far more understanding now.

    But neighbours and friends who just pop in for a chat, or do I fancy a coffee, or can I help with…
    I used to leave my front door unlocked and friends/neighbours knew that if it was open I was home. So I started locking it – then the phone calls and banging on the door/window because they are “worried”.

    The “talk” has worked with several – if it’s urgent, ring me, text me. If not then pop in after teatime. However, some still equate working from home equalling time off whenever with no planning because it’s not a proper job.

    I live in hope, one day they’ll get it :)
    Jan Kearney recently posted…No-one Expects The Spamish Inquisition! (Email Spam Infographic Guide)My Profile

    • Hi Jan, thanks for your kind words, it’s amazing how many people can’t comprehend the work from home scenario, I find it is just a matter of continued reinforcement. They do get it eventually

  2. Hi Mike
    Time management is a big deal. It’s amazing how easy it is to stop what your doing to go check something and turn a 2 minute peek into 10 minutes or worse. I turned the sound off on my computer because I kept hearing every email, Facebook notifications, Skype chirping to say someone signed in or there is a message. I would want to know what just happened, my curiosity trap.

    I work at home and people (I live with my cousins) here were constantly bothering me like I wasn’t working. It was driving crazy. I recently had to put a stop to that. I had the talk, and told people what I was actually doing. In detail, maybe a little overkill but it worked for a while. Apparently nobody had a clue or so I am told. They just saw me sitting at the computer and from that, thought I read some, type some and click some buttons. Not the complexity of what I do or the focus required. It’s been about 5 days since the talk and they’re back at it again. Time for another talk or a sign or something. Looks like it isn’t going to be as easy as I hoped.
    John Collins recently posted…Hellen Cook Missing Has Alzheimer’s Please HelpMy Profile

      • Hi Mike
        I had another talk with everyone. I tried to do it in a way that wouldn’t ruffle any feathers but still get the point across. During the talk I also explained that I would write a reminder for them on a piece of paper that they could see before they interrupted me. If they see the sign they are to think of me as not there. Here’s hoping
        John Collins recently posted…Symptoms And Tests For Alzheimer’s DiseaseMy Profile

        • Great effort John, the key to any form of time management is taking control, the sign is a good idea, in the past i have got clients to use a traffic light system,

          Red = Don’t interrupt unless the place is on fire
          Yellow = You can interrupt but only to talk about work related problems
          Green = I am open to a bit of general chit chat

          Using the first one might be an option for you

  3. This is a great article Mike! I hate to admit it, but I occasionally do find myself constantly checking social media for notifications or logging in to my email to make sure I haven’t missed any updates. Your tips are both very insightful and helpful! I’ll have to share them with my friends!

    • Hi Deb, unfortunately many times we find ourselves driven by others agendas that become huge distractions. I always try to communicate with them and get them to work on my terms rather than theirs.

  4. Nice short post that didn’t waste my time :) It’s always good for me to get time management reminders because I can be guilty of being curious but as of late where I am getting into the beginning stages of starting my project for P2S I really am trying to limit my online time to product creation. Just thought I would stop by and support your blog. I’ll follow you on FB but I can’t promice I’ll be there much… time management and all :)