Most People Waste Time The Same Way Every Day. Robert Benchley was bullish on human determination when he said, “Anyone can do any amount of work...provided it isn’t what he’s supposed to be doing at the time.” The following thought was found in the pages of Boardroom Reports: "All you can do with time is spend it or waste it. Find the best ways to spend available time and the appropriate amount of time for each task. Concentrate on the best ways to spend time, instead of worrying about saving it."
In a recent survey of business managers, people named their own lack of time management for 92 percent of the failures among those under their supervision. This raises the ominous question, “How do managers waste so much time?” Several reasons top the list:
• The most common contributor to wasted management time is doing an employee’s job for him or her.
• Another cause of lost productivity in management is doing tasks that can be handled by someone with less responsibility.
• It’s common to find a manager spending a disproportionate amount of time on a favorite or pet project at the expense of items that are more valuable to the organization as a whole.
• Repeating instructions is another time killer. This misguided practice teaches employees that they don’t have to take action until the boss instructs them for the third time.
Minor corrections can mean major improvements. For example, if a manager figures out a way to save only 10 minutes every work day, that savings will total 42 extra hours gained at the end of a year. That would be like having a 53-week year, and would result in one heck of an increase in productivity--all from just 10 minutes per day. The average person spends 150 hours per year looking for things. That's almost a full week. Get organized.
Here are three of Peter F. Drucker's most important suggestions for liberating time:
• Record your time. Don’t count on your memory for an accurate assessment of how you spend your time.
• Manage your time. Drucker said, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” Managing means being aware of and proactively appropriating time to tasks rather than letting time “get away from us.” Plan your time, but also time your plan.
• Consolidate your time. Group chores together to increase efficiency.
Here are some of the most commonly given excuses for not planning time. Don't fall for them:
• The excuse, "It takes too long,” really means, “I would rather focus on a day-by-day or short-term basis and just see what happens.”
• The excuse, "I don’t have enough information to plan well,” really means, “I don’t have enough faith in the information I’ve gathered so far so I’d better wait.”
• The excuse, “It’s impossible to predict the future,” really means, “I would have to give up acting on impulse and develop new disciplines.”