Time management is a skill that we all must learn. Every day we are presented with problems and situations that we must cope with both in our personal lives and business. Learning time management skills is a lifelong process that begins in childhood and will help increase productivity. Learning time management skills will allow you to get the most effective return on everything you do during the day.
Mastering the Art
For someone to master time management and increase productivity, they need to learn organization, planning, execution, and patience. When someone has a firm grasp of these concepts, the ability to master time management and other tasks becomes obtainable. If they fail to master any of the above tasks, chaos, uncertainty, productivity, and overall control of their lives become complicated. When learning these skills, you must be patient, willing to learn new skills, and not be afraid to fail. The benefit of learning new skills will allow you to achieve your ultimate goals, dreams, and ambitions. Out of all the skills we learn as children, time management is the most life-changing and life-enhancing skill one can learn.
So what are time stealers?
Time stealers are those unwanted minor issues that creep up on you and eat up your day. Time stealers take the form of the most innocent events in the day. If you allow them to grow and multiply, your time will be wasted down to nothing, and you will find yourself in a hole so deep it will take forever to dig your way out. Below is a list of five common yet utterly destructive time stealers we deal with daily at work.
1. Interruptions, interruptions, and interruptions
One of the most unavoidable things during a productive day at work that steals your time away is interruptions. Interruptions come in many forms. They can be from phone calls, emails, co-workers, family, friends, and more. When dealing with interruptions, you need to take a calm approach. First, take a moment to complete your thought. If you are in the middle of writing something down or talking to a co-worker or a client, let your ideas flow. You don’t want to have to come back to where you were when you were interrupted.
Next, take a deep breath and acknowledge the interruption. If it is a phone call, you will want to ensure your tone of voice is not alarming or threatening. If you are dealing with an individual who chimed in during your conversation or walked into the room, greet them with a smile and a welcoming tone. Even if the interruption is harmful in nature, do your best to handle it with professionalism, only then will you increase productivity.
2. Poor Planning
Another significant time stealer is poor planning. When you need to perform a task as simple as getting home in time to make dinner for your family or developing the infrastructure for a multi-million-dollar building, you need to consider planning. Poor planning will derail any hopes for success. Try to stick to a simple yet effective approach when making a plan! Start by determining the end of the task first. What is it that needs to be accomplished, and when? From there, take a look at where you are now and what you have to work with.
Next, look at the time frame you have to work and the priority items that you have no choice but to deal with. After that, go over the other things you would like to see in the end results and what you can drop off and come back to later if time permits. From there, put everything, so that needs to be done.
Remember to start with a basic plan, trying not to get too precise, and then slim it down to a manageable step-by-step list. This can include assigning a time period in which to get the tasks done or when they need to be completed. If possible, try to add in some mess-up time. Mess-up time is time that is wasted by unforeseen events or actions. For example, if the painter decorating your house paints the rooms the wrong color, will you have time and money to go back and fix their mistakes before the open house? Every task that you perform will have unforeseen challenges. You need to plan for them to happen.
3. Cant say “NO”
Ever since we were kids, we were taught to say no to many things that we wanted to do. When we become older, it becomes a habit of not wanting to say no to what we want and what others want from us. It comes from a seed deep down in our soul of wanting to be liked by everyone. It is a common belief that if we tell someone no, they will not want to be your friend anymore and you will be all alone. So saying “no” has, in essence, become taboo.
The problem comes into play with time management of not saying no and having all of your time and resources used up with no productive results. You need to know your limits and not bite off more than you can chew. This will get you more work in the future and make your current work the best that it can be. Nothing gets done or done efficiently when you take on more than you can handle.
4. Don’t let their crisis become your crisis
No matter what happens, you will be presented with some form of crisis in any business or personal situation. Someone will freak out and start taking something someone said or did too seriously. They will be facing a deadline that they can’t meet because of some technical issue or personal problem and then start a full blow crisis involving you, your team, or the entire company. The question will become, how will you personally deal with this?
Time Stealers vs Increasing Productivity
When it comes to time stealers, the biggest thief is you and your actions. The time you make is the time you keep. Increase productivity and it will produce for you. Let it take away what you hold most dear, and it is gone forever. Don’t let others dictate to you how your time is spent. Every second is your own. Make it count.