Dealing With Your Time Wasters

Are you one of those people that work really hard, but you never seem to get everything done? The ability to identify those time wasters that get in the way and take control of them is one the most important time management skills.

Below you will find some of the biggest time wasters and some techniques to deal with them.

On-line Time Wasters

The Internet is fantastic, you can go on-line and find anything you want. It is also the number one time thief and will eat up your time if you allow it to and keep you from getting work done. Email, social media, on-line forums and videos, and are the biggest culprits. So how do you cut out these distractions? First of all, take a long hard honest look at what you’re doing. Do you really need to read every email as soon as it hits your in-box? Do you really need to stay logged into your Facebook account just in case there’s an important message?

Once you have identified your on-line time wasters, you need to take control of them. Why not specify time for them in your schedule. For example, set aside just 30 minutes a day for Facebook, split into two 15 minute segments. When your 15 minutes are up, close that tab on your browser to stop it being a temptation.

Interruptions

We have to accept that if we work from home, there will always be interruptions, especially if you have a family. We can’t shut ourselves off from the world entirely. Try to stop interruptions before they happen, tell everyone that you’re ‘at work’ for the next few hours and to only interrupt you if it is an emergency. When you do get interrupted, do not try to fight them, stop what you are doing and deal with them, if you don’t you will still become distracted and you’ll lose focus.

Meaningless Meetings

In many jobs there is an abundance of meaningless meetings and if you are not careful they can really drain your time. Make a stand and turn down any meetings for which there is no agenda. If you have to attend, see if you can attend for only the part of the meeting where your input is required. Let the chair know that you can attend but will have to leave at a specific time.Try to be proactive in keeping the meeting on track. The other attendees will appreciate it.

Multitasking IS a Time Waster

Most people believe that multitasking saves you time. The truth is that multitasking is another time-waster, because each task takes longer than it would if you were doing it on its own, and you’re not really giving it the attention it deserves. Avoid multitasking as much as possible, and put all of your focus into dealing with one task at a time.

Loss of Focus and Burnout

Working too much or too many hours is also a time waster. Long hours don’t necessarily mean greater productivity. When your mind and body get tired, you lose focus. When you lose focus, everything takes longer to complete. If you’re not feeling motivated, admit it do something else for a while to avoid getting stressed and burnt out. If you have to burn the midnight oil, make sure you take enough breaks to keep your focus together.

Tracking Your Time

The best way to identify you time wasters is to keep an honest record of how you spend your time. Do it for a week and it will show you exactly where you’re wasting time and it’s almost always a big surprise. You can then decide what strategies you will put in place to deal with them.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

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Mike Gardner - The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor helps the overworked and overwhelmed learn to say 'No' nicely, and improve their management of time, emails and meetings. He is also an avid fan of Aston Villa, a Dad of Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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4 thoughts on “Dealing With Your Time Wasters

  1. That was highly informative. Well written. Usually I am one among them, who work really hard, but always lack the required completeness. This is exactly a guide for people like me. Thank You.

  2. Stopping by from UBC!

    Mike,

    This is a brilliant article. One I will be sharing with my network. Time wasters…boy oh boy can I make the best of them! I catch myself sucked into Facebook and 6 hours later I think to myself, “just think how much writing you could have accomplished…”

    There is a time and place for time wasters – or rather turning misused time into productive time. I’m not looking at Facebook and other social media as a way to build community and relationships. When I am on purpose (rather than bored or procrastinating) my time is wasted :-)

    Thank you for this!
    Peggy
    ***
    Peggy Nolan
    http://thestepmomstoolbox.com

  3. Oh yeah, didn’t take long to learn that. Most people don’t surf at work, but at home the time flies by. Then I started my own business, fell into the trap of being boss and employee. Strange how accountability can stop when you are the only one who knows.

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