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Time Stealers – which ones steal the most of your time?

  • Interruptions
  • Crisis management
  • Failure to prioritise or set goals
  • Equipment failure
  • Unavailability of others
  • Meetings
  • Lack of support staff
  • Chasing others

Are there any others that use up your time?

See the following for suggestions on how to manage your most frequent time stealers

Interruptions: Say no; tell the person you can’t talk to them right now; tell them when you will be able to talk to them; ask if you can get back to them later; shut your door.

Unavailability of others / Chasing others: work out what you can do to take control and tell them in writing what you are going to do. If they don’t like it they will get back to you! Give them a deadline for answers.

Lack of support staff: Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. Think creatively about where else you can get help / collaborate with colleagues to get the essential work done. If you have to do some of the maintenance work, plan it into the small gaps round your important / progress work. See this video on the 7 Habits for tips on how to do that.

Crisis management: See the Important / Urgent matrix

Equipment failure: Always aim to include contingency time in your planning. What else can you do to make progress while the equipment is out of action? How can you be proactive in getting it fixed?

Meetings: Be clear about why you have to be in the meeting and what its purpose is; consider whether you actually have to be there; read the agenda and papers so that you are properly informed; make constructive contributions to move the business along.