Self Generated Time Wasters
The most common self-generated time wastes fall into three categories - lack of organisation, procrastination, and the inability to say no. You may have others on your list.
Disorganisation leads to wasted time. It crops up in three situations: wasted effort due to poor layout of the work area, wasted time spent searching for things, and wasted time due to starting and stopping a task perhaps two or three times before it is completed.
Sometimes you may put things off that you know should be done but for whatever reason you cannot get interested in starting. Typically, this includes the boring, difficult, unpleasant, or onerous work to be done. When this happens, consider the following ideas:
° Set a deadline for yourself to complete the task and stick with it.
° Set up a reward system. For example, “When I finish that task I’m going to buy myself a new _____.” Or, “I’m not going to lunch until I finish this task”
° Arrange with someone - an associate or secretary - to follow up with you on your progress.
° Do the undesirable task first in the morning and be done with it.
Inability to say No
In some cases the demands on your time exceed your ability to accommodate all of them. Here is where priorities and the ability to say no can come to your rescue. When you take on more than you can handle, quality usually begins to suffer. In the long term, you will be better off to take on only what you can handle well. Saying no does not have to offend. When you can offer an alternative, things can usually be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction. On the other hand, when a new demand comes in that is higher in priority to some of your current commitments; renegotiate the due dates on your current projects or have them reassigned to someone else.
Rather than saying yes too often, try some of these responses instead:
° I can take care of that, but in order to do so what I am doing now will be delayed. Is what you are requesting more important?
° I will be glad to take care of that for you. However, I cannot get to it until I finish what I am now doing. That will be .
° I appreciate the compliment, but I just cannot work it into my schedule at this time.
° I am sorry; I just do not have the time to take on any new work. I will be glad to call you when my schedule frees up.
° I am sorry, I cannot, but you might consider…..