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Time Management

| February 28, 2005

by Jim Bruce

Good morning!


I found this short piece on time management last week and thought that

I would share it with you.  Most of the points are straight forward

but he does offer some new insights.


Have a great week…………….jim


Top Five Time Management Mistakes

BY : Dr. Donald E. Wetmore


And how to correct them. Before it’s too late. In my 30 years as a Time Management speaker and

consultant, I have observed a lot of what we can and should not do to increase our daily results. Time

management is not necessarily working harder, but rather, smarter. And to accomplish significantly more in our

days, we need not increase our efforts. For example: in a horserace, the first horse may earn a $50,000 purse

and the second horse may earn a $25,000 purse. The first horse gets twice as much money as the second

horse, not because it ran twice as far or twice as fast. It might have been only a

nose ahead of the competition. So it is with our daily results. We need not run twice as fast or put in twice the effort

to significantly increase our daily success. We only need to be a nose ahead of

where we already are. We are all productive in our days. We would not survive the

demands of this world if we were not. The real challenge is how much more

productive can we become?

A lot of our time management has to do more with what we are not doing than what

we are doing. Sometimes our mistakes and omissions will keep us from running at

a full pace.


The Five Don’ts

Here are the top five time management mistakes we should all avoid to help

increase our daily success both on and off the job, in less time and with less stress.

1. Start your day without a plan of action. You will begin your day by

responding to the loudest voice (the squeaky wheel gets the grease) and

spend it in a defensive mode, responding to other people’s and events’

demands. The tail will wag the dog. If there is a void of leadership in your

time management life, someone will fill that void. It’s not that others are bad

people, but they will take all of your time if you let them. You will have

worked hard but may not have done enough of the right things. Time

management is not doing the wrong things quicker. That just gets us

nowhere faster. Time management is doing the right things.

2. Get out of balance in your life. Our lives are made up of Seven Vital Areas:

health, family, financial, intellectual, social, professional and spiritual. We will

not necessarily spend time every day in each area or equal amounts of time in

each area. But, if in the long run, we spend a sufficient quantity and quality

of time in each area, our lives will be in balance. If we neglect any one area,

never mind two or three, we will eventually sabotage our success. Much like a

table: if one leg is longer than the rest, it will make the entire table wobbly.

If we don’t take time for health, our family life and social life are hurt. If our

financial area is out of balance, we will not be able to focus adequately on our

professional goals, and so on.

3. Work with a messy desk or area. Studies have shown that the person who

works with a messy desk spends, on average, one-and-a-half hours per day

looking for things or being distracted by things. That’s seven-and-a-half

hours per week. (It’s the reverse of “Out of sight-out of mind.” In sight, in

mind.) And, it’s not a solid block of an hour and a half, but a minute here

and a minute there. Like a leaky hot water faucet that goes drip, drip, drip, it

doesn’t seem like a major loss, but at the end of the day, we’re dumping

gallons of hot water that we are paying to heat down the drain. If you have

ever visited the office of a top manager, typically, that person is working with

a clean desk environment. Many would attribute this practice to that person’s

access to other staff members. While there may be some truth in that

conclusion, in most cases, if we went back some years in that person’s career,

they probably were working with a clean desk back then, which gave them the

focus they needed to become promoted to where they are today.

4. Don’t get enough sleep. Studies show that nearly 75 percent of us complain

on a regular basis that we are flat-out tired. Most people get the quantity of

sleep, but lack the quality of sleep. Their days are filled with so much stress,

that they are out of control, and they find it difficult to get a full night’s sleep.

(Others simply do not allow for a sufficient quantity of sleep.) If you plan your

day, then work your plan, you will get more done, feel a higher sense of

accomplishment, and experience less stress so you can enjoy a more restful

night’s sleep.

5. Don’t take a lunch break. Many work through lunch in the hope that it will

give them more time to produce results. Studies have shown it may turn just

the opposite. After doing what we do for several hours, we start to dull out.

Sure, we can work through lunch and be productive, but that is not the issue.

The issue is “how much more” productive we can be. A lunch break, even a

short 15-minute break, gives us a chance to get our batteries all charged up

again to more effectively handle the afternoon’s challenges. We are then less

likely to procrastinate a few of those difficult tasks that, in the long run, will

make a positive difference in our personal productivity.

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore is adjunct professor for the Master of Business Administration

program at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and the author of Beat the Clock

and Organizing Your Life. In 1984, he created the Productivity Institute to conduct his

original and unique Time Management and Personal Productivity seminars for organizations

around the world. You can reach him at [email protected].

If these ideas were helpful, he has an additional article, “Top Five Best Time Management

Practices.” It’s free. If you would like a copy, e-mail your request for “Top Five” to

[email protected].

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