As a follow up to last week’s blog post, here is an in-depth look at some contributing factors of poor time management.

In Dr. Donald E. Wetmore’s, “Time Thieves: The 11 Biggest Time-Wasters Revealed,” he lists the  ‘inconsiderate troupe’ of eleven thieves that gang up to steal precious time away from the productive use of managers and small business owners. Below are the infamous culprits:

1. Poor Planning:
Failure to see the value of planning and getting impatient to get something done, are the causes of poor planning. Absence of a plan of action is likely to trigger a false start, resulting in unproductive time utilization on the critical path of the task being undertaken. Consequently, the managers/business owners might not find enough time for completing the task.

2. Crisis Management:
Most often, crisis management is an offspring of lack of prioritization of tasks. As a result of the inability to distinguish between the urgent, the important and the unnecessary tasks, unimportant tasks are likely to get done first at the cost of important tasks. Consequently, the managers/business owners are not likely to find enough time to get around to the important things.

3. Procrastination:
It is easy to put off tasks if they are not due right away. The trouble is, tasks pile up and can force managers/business owners to run into a time crunch later. Procrastination is generally triggered by the fear of failure or success, perfectionism, wanting to do it all or incorrect priorities. It is a virtue to want to do a good job. But some people become so anxious about getting a job done perfectly that they never complete it. Managers/business owners should examine whether their efforts to get the job done perfectly are really improving things or preventing them from getting the job done.

4. Interruptions:
Interruptions and distractions arise due to lack of planning, poor concentration and lack of control over environment. They are unnecessary thieves of a manager’s/business owners’s time and come in many forms – drop-in visitors, telephones, e-mails, unscheduled meetings, poor communications and confused chain of authority etc… Managers/business owners should be less willing to automatically give away their time just because they demand it. They should learn to avoid distractions if they are to get work done. They should work in areas where they are less likely to be disturbed and tell people when they are busy and cannot be disturbed.

5. Not Delegating:
Wanting-to-do-all by oneself is yet another thief that could let the manager/business owner lose control. They feel that employees can never do anything as well as they can. They fear that something will go wrong if someone else takes over a job. They lack time for long-range planning because they are bogged down in day-to-day operations.

6. Unnecessary Meetings:
If a meeting is held without a specific agenda and nothing productive comes out of it, clearly that meeting was unnecessary. Obviously, such meetings are thieves as the time is wasted and things just do not get started.

7. The “shuffling blues”:
Managers and small business owners often waste much time because of disorganization. Keeping things that they need in a specific place, eliminating clutter, making sure that they have all the materials or information that they need before starting on the task and following a day-planner or schedule will help keep the ‘shuffling blues’ away at the work place.

8. Poor Physical Setup:
Not having the things that the managers and small business owners need frequently within easy reach and having a lot of the things that they seldom require close-by results in wastage of a lot of time, wearing out the carpet, retrieving what they frequently need. And of course, as they pass others they will often pull them aside to steal some of their time.

9. Poor Networking:
Quality relationships with employees and others can be a substantial time-saver as they open doors for the managers/business owners with all kinds of opportunities. Failing to develop a good network base will cause them to waste time creating what they might have had through their network.

10. Bad Attitude:
Nothing sinks a day more effectively than having a poor attitude. It causes the managers/business owners to dwell on the problems and not the solutions and makes it possible to throw the day away. When they are burdening others with their problems and complaints, they are forfeiting their valuable time.

11. Negative People:
Being surrounded by negative people could mean the managers/business owners are spending a lot of their time listening to them but getting nothing much or purposeful from them. Obviously, avoiding such people will help them to minimize wasted hours and get some of their productive time back.

Leap of the Week
What’s your number? Which of these time wasters reflects you most? Once you are aware of it, take a few minutes to decide what you can do to make a course correction. Remember that time is your only non-renewable resource, so be choosy and spend your heartbeats wisely.