Stop Wasting Time
By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
|Dr. Donald E. Wetmore is a full-time Professional Speaker having made over 2,000 presentations during the last twenty years to audiences from around the world. He is the author of "Beat the Clock" and dozens of published articles. Learn more at: www.balancetime.com
Life is often what happens to you along the way when you have planned otherwise
because there are time wasters out there to throw you off the track. Your
performance may not always match your intentions. To help you to increase
your productivity each and every day, both on and off the job, here are
five easy tips to overcome the major time wasters to help you to stop wasting
- Plan your day. Set aside time each night for Daily Planning, a time for
you to take control of your most important asset, the next twenty-four
hours. Create a To Do list with all the things you "have to"
do and, more importantly, all the things you "want to" do. Don't
be afraid of putting down too much. A project tends to expand with the
time available for it. If you give yourself one thing to do, it will take
you all day. If you give yourself two things to do, you will get them both
done. If you give yourself twelve things to do, you may not get all twelve
done, but you'll get eight or nine done. Having a lot to do creates a healthy
sense of pressure on us to get things done. Prioritize this list. Put the
number "1" next to the most important item, "2" beside
the next most important item, the number "3" beside the third
most important item, etc. People ask me a lot, "Do you do Daily Planning
every day?" I reply, "Only if I want to have a good day."
- Control procrastination. The easiest way to avoid procrastination in your
day is to do the Daily Planning each day. Without a plan of action to direct
you, you are often drawn to the things that are easier or to the most urgent
items that may not be the most important use of your time. You can easily
get caught up in "stuff", wasting time majoring in the minor
things, spending your day wheel spinning in the unimportant areas while
the important things get put off.
- Avoid interruptions. A problem that is well defined is mostly solved. To
define your interruptions situation to permit you to take some preventive
actions, run an Interruptions Log. On a pad of paper, log in interruptions
as they occur over a few days. Put down who brings them to you, how long
each interruption lasts, and whether or not they were valuable or of no
value. Once you accumulate your data, get the most frequent interrupters
who bring the interruptions with no value to change their actions and agree
to not bring as many low value interruptions to you in the future.
- Delegate it. If you had unlimited amounts of time, you could do everything
yourself, but you don't. Each week has but 168 hours to get all you need
and want to do. I review every item on my To Do list each night in Daily
Planning and ask, "Is this the best use of my time?" If it is,
I will plan to do it myself and if it's not, I will try to find a way to
delegate it to free up my time for something more valuable. There is a
lot of difference between, "I do it", and "It gets done".
Sure, it's great to do a variety of things but you have to be sure that
your scarce resource is always being spent in the most productive way.
- Manage meetings. Before you commit to attend a meeting with another or
with a group, ask yourself two questions. First, "Is it necessary?"
Sometimes we go to a meeting solely because we have been invited or because
we have always gone out of habit without ascertaining whether or not it
truly is necessary. Second, ask yourself, "Am I necessary?" Perhaps
the meeting is important but if you don' contribute anything to it or if
you don't get anything from it, try to find a way to excuse yourself from
attending all or a portion of the meeting.