Do you have a colleague that always come to talk to you when you are in the middle of something, do you always get that unexpected phone call from your boss asking you to do something, or simply your stress does not let you get to do the things you need to do?
If your answer is yes to any of this questions, that means that your are dealing with time wasters.
A time waster is anything that keeps you from doing things that have more value and importance to you.
Identify your time wasters, and then develop strategies for dealing with them. For example, instead of personally handling certain emergencies, set procedures in place for others to handle them or to prevent them in the future.
For each time waster, brainstorm strategies that match your personal style. That means, don’t commit yourself to making 10-minute call backs if you enjoy making personal contact in a relaxed manner. Instead, spend your energy on organizing your thoughts before a call, so you complete all your business in one call and don’t need to make additional ones.
Experiment with the strategies you develop and keep the ones that are effective. And, let your colleagues and direct reports know that you are working on managing time wasters. Enlist their support and ask for feedback. Remember, though, that only you can determine whether you are using your time wisely.
Some common time wasters include
- unexpected visitors
- telephone calls
Next: How to handle interruptions