The Seven Major Time Wasters

There are seven major time wasters in the world of work, based on hundreds of studies and opinion surveys. Your ability to deal with them effectively will largely determine how successful you are in your business.

1. Telephone Interruptions

Telephone interruptions lead the list. The telephone rings and breaks your train of thought, interrupts you and distracts you from what you are doing.

When you hang up the phone, you are often distracted and find it hard to get back to the work in front of you.

2. Unexpected Visitors

Unexpected or drop-in visitors can be extremely time consuming. These are people who drop in on you from within your company, or from the outside. They disrupt your work, break your train of thought and impair your effectiveness. Sometimes they talk endlessly about unimportant matters and keep you from your work.

3. Meetings, Meetings

Meetings, both planned and unplanned consume fully 40% or more of your time. They can be formal or ad hoc, with groups in scheduled meetings or one-on-one meetings from office to office, or in the hallways. Many of them are unnecessary or largely a waste of time.

4. Fire Fighting and Emergencies

A major time consumer and time waster is fire fighting, emergencies and the inevitable crisis. Just when you get settled in to work on something important, something totally unexpected happens that takes you away from your main task, sometimes for hours.

5. Procrastination

A major waste of time and life is procrastination, the thief of time. The tendency to procrastinate is universal for a variety of reasons that we will deal with in detail in Chapter Eight.

6. Socializing and Idle Conversation

Socializing takes up an enormous amount of time. It has been estimated that as much as 75% of time at work is spent interacting with other people. Unfortunately, fully half of this time is spent in idle chatter that has nothing to do with the work. Socializing takes time away from getting the job done.

7. Indecision and Delay

Indecision costs more time than most people realize, especially with paper, correspondence, tasks and people. Indecision wastes your time and that of others.