Busting Time Traps
In the three-part series ‘How To Make 2017 A Smashing Success’, self-empowerment educators and authors Nadia Bilchik and Lori Milner work with you to help you truly own your time and make 2017 a year of smashing success.
Every New Year starts with lofty aspirations and the best of intentions, only to careen into another yearend, leaving a tattered trail of unfinished goals and unfulfilled desires. Work, family, and social demands almost always reach a fever pitch this time of year, so now is the perfect time to develop an awareness of any potential bad habits and time-wasting behaviours you may have developed.
Over the next month, step outside yourself every now and then and watch out for these potential timewasters. Give yourself a rating of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all true, and 10 being ‘oh my goodness, that’s so me!’
Perfectionism. I take much longer than other people to complete a task because I feel that everything I do has to be absolutely perfect.
Tip: Perfection can be stifling. The world rewards productivity, not perfection. Good is good enough, so do yourself a favour and let perfectionism go.
Procrastination. If there’s something I don’t really want to do, I keep putting it off instead of tackling it straight away.
Tip: If this sounds like you, remember that done is better than perfect.
Distractions. I plan a full eight-hour day but because of distractions like phone calls, meetings, and unplanned tasks, I never get everything done.
Tip: Distractions are inevitable. Only plan for four to five real hours of work per day.
Meetings. Meetings are pointless. They’re one of my biggest time wasters.
Tip: Meetings need a clear agenda. Define that agenda beforehand, keep that agenda on track, and close the meeting on time. No agenda? No meeting!
Yes, yes, yes. I say yes to everything and take too much on because I’m scared I’m going to miss out on an opportunity.
Tip: Think of saying no as a trade-off. When you say no to a request, you are simultaneously saying yes to something you value more than the request. Both are opportunities. You’re just choosing one over the other.
Multitasking. I’m so busy trying to do a little bit of everything that I never really get anything done properly.
Tip: We don’t multi-task, we switch-task. Switch-tasking is inefficient and unproductive – it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task you were tackling before you switched, so resist the temptation.
Emails. I check my emails first thing, and before I know it, I’ve almost lost a whole morning.
Tip: Focus on your most urgent tasks before you check your emails in the morning. That way you won’t land up with five other ‘urgent’ tasks.
Social media. I’m obsessed! I keep finding myself scrolling through my social media streams even when I know I have work to do.
Tip: Social media is to the mind what sugar is to the body. A little in moderation is fine. Put yourself on a social media diet, dedicate reasonable little pockets of time for social media and don’t allow yourself any more than that.
Punctuality. OMG, I’m late again!
Tip: The last minute rush is always stressful and could derail the rest of your day. Being more realistic about your scheduling will help you to be more organised.
Disorganisation. Everything around me is chaos. I can never find what I’m looking for.
Tip: Spending a little upfront time organising your desk, your handbag, your hard drive, your car and your home will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Now watch this space for part two! We’ll show you how you can actually boost the time that you have.
Nadia Bilchik and Lori Milner are female empowerment educators and the authors of ‘Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman’ – a chapter-for-chapter guide to help women become the best version of themselves.
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