Leader Volume 9, Number 1
Wetmore, from Shelton, CT, is a speaker and consultant on time
management. He can be
reached at: phone (800) 969-377; fax (203) 9298151; email firstname.lastname@example.org;
is not necessarily working harder, but rather, smarter. To accomplish significantly more, we need not necessarily
increase our efforts. As an example, in a horse race, the first
horse earns a $50,000 purse and the second earns $25,000. The
first horse gets twice as much money as the runner-up, not because
it ran twice as far or twice as fast. It was only a “nose
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
already quite productive. The real challenge is: how much more
productive can we become?
A lot of our time
management has to do with more of what we are not
doing, rather than what we are doing. Sometimes our mistakes and
omissions keep us from running at full pace.
Here are five
time management mistakes we should all avoid to help us increase
our successes both on and off the job, in less time, and with less
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. Other
people 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.
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 won’t be able to focus
adequately on our professional goals.
Work with a messy desk or work area. 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. ("Out of sight-out of mind."
The reverse is true too, "In sight, in mind.")
It's not a solid block of an hour and a half, but a minute
here and a minute there and, like a leaky hot water faucet, drip,
drip, drip, it doesn't seem like a major loss, but at the end the
day, we're dumping gallons of hot water down the drain. If you
have ever visited the office of a top manager, typically, that
person is working with a clean desk. Many would attribute this
observation to that person's access to other staff members. I’d
bet, however, that even in the manager’s early career, he or she
likely worked with a clean desk.
Don't get enough sleep. Nearly 75% of us complain that we are
flat-out tired. Most people get an appropriate quantity of sleep,
but they lack quality sleep. Their days are filled with so much
stress that sleep becomes fitful.
If you plan your day, and work your plan, you will get more
done, feel a higher sense of accomplishment, experience less
stress, and enjoy a more restful night's sleep.
Don't take a lunch break. Many do not take a lunch break,
working through that time period in the hope that it will give
them more time to produce results. It may work 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’s not the issue. The issue is how much more productive we
can be. A lunch break, even a fifteen-minute one, 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. We’ll
go head-to-head with those difficult tasks that will make a
significant difference in our productivity.
So, be sure not
to fall into any of these time-management mistakes.
You’ll likely win by even more than “a nose.”
If you would like
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