Time, You Never Have Enough!
In short supply, still easily wasted.
What is time?
Whatever time constraints you work and live with regardless of what you call them, deadlines, due dates, delivery schedules, flight dates, and even meetings, timeliness isn’t an option. It never goes away, and it never goes out of style.
Everyone has at least one person that always comes to mind when you think of being on time or the inability to do so. A friend, a family member, or even a spouse, that always, regardless of the occasion, you know is going to keep you waiting and make you late.
Chances are you also work with an equally infuriating someone that has a knack for time blindness. In the business world it doesn’t matter if it’s the person sitting at the next desk focused on interjecting their personal or professional opinion on something that is not theirs’ to do, or someone you need to interact with across the country – they can make you late. In the world of media buying, it may be an account executive that is routinely late supplying you with the information you need for planning. It may be a person in your office that is always the last one to show up for a planning meeting or have their information in and processed to put a plan together. It could be a production specialist that has missed their deadline for creative deliverables that can derail the most carefully planned media campaign. Whomever and whatever the reason, as long as it isn’t you, is cause for anxiety and resentment.
Americans waste an average of 2.9 hours each day at work, and average 21.5 hours a week in meetings.
Take a minute and think about those numbers. More than a third of a standard 8-hour workday, 37.5%, was lost to waste and more than half of a standard 40-hour work week, 53.8%, spent in meetings. Total – 36 hours+/-. Amazing, if you subscribe to these averages, it’s not possible to get anything of any substance done. 91.3% of your week is over between avoiding and talking about work. Now add to these averages the occasional personal call, lunch, and the five minutes here and there you use to stand up to stretch, the standard work week is done and then some. Don’t even think about the traffic jam you were stuck in or hitting every red light on your way that made you late a few times this month.
In the interest of brevity
A. For more on time management challenges and solutions see 12 Time-Management Problems (and How To Fix Them).
B. For a few thoughts on increased productivity see 10 Quick Tips for Avoiding Distractions at Work.
The problem seems fairly clear, so where do you go now?
First, make sure you’re never the cause of the problem.
Turn your cell phone off if necessary.
Set realistic deadlines for yourself, not everything can be done in five minutes.
Focus, multitasking sounds much more productive than it actually is. I was a big believer in throwing 100 balls in the air at a time and not letting any of them hit the ground. All that does is makes your arms tired and you still have those same 100 things to do.
Pick one: A. “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” -Henry Ford B. Parkinson’s Law – “It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Cyril Northcote Parkinson (Make sure the amount of time you’re given to complete a task AT LEAST fills the amount of time you’re given to it.)
Stop wasting time!