by Jim Bruce
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
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@example.com.
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
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