As you make the effort to use positive time management during your workday, be sure that you reclaim time that is currently slipping out of your control. Regardless how productive you try to be, there are time wasters that need to be identified and managed to really get the most from every work hour. Let’s talk more about how minimizing time wasters can increase productivity!
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Minimizing Time Wasters
What’s the most frustrating time waster? Drop-in visitors. This isn’t usually the clients – seeing them is good for business. The big time waster is drop-in visits from other people in your office.
Make an informal log of the interruptions in your day. Be honest, how many of them are necessary and how many could wait until lunch break or after work? Even if you stay don’t hang around the break room coffee machine, people stop by to see you. There’s a fine line between friendly and sabotage.
Yes, drop-in visitors with trivial chatter are sabotaging your workday. Maybe they have less work than you do or they are simply looking for a way to avoid working. Either way, when you let them interrupt your workflow, you lose. You have to screen your drop-in visitors as carefully as you screen phone calls if you want to reclaim the time they steal from your day.
If you have a door, engage closed-door hours at least one hour in the morning and in the afternoon.
To give this a positive spin, post a sign: This is my Power Hour: See you later and thanks for supporting my time management goals.
What if you don’t have a door to close at work? You can create the same sign and tape it to the entry. If that still doesn’t work, as soon as you hear the usual interrupter, grab the phone and a pen and appear as if you are concentrating on a call.
Another way to limit time wasted with drop-in visitors is to make it clear immediately that you don’t have time to chat. As soon as the visitors shows up, say emphatically, “Hello, Jane, I only have 5 minutes to spare so can you tell me what you came to say in less than 5 minutes.”
If she says no, then you say, “Ok, then we will have to set a time to talk at lunch (break, after work). If she still insists on invading your time with “this won’t take long” (and you know it will), then be firm; “If I can’t get your agreement to limit our conversation to 5 minutes, then I don’t have time to even begin to talk now. See you later (at lunch, etc).” Don’t worry about appearing rude. She’s rude for not respecting your time management plan. And frankly, why isn’t she doing her work?
Conscientious workers are not offended by your desire to improve your time management skills. Co-workers who have little respect for your time are also not paying attention to the time they owe the company. When you make new time management plans, be prepared to irritate people who are poor time managers. That’s fine, you are making the effort to remove time wasters from your workday and improve productivity. Never apologize for that.