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April 2, 2012 / mike54martin

Stop Wasting Time

Do you want to have more time in your life to do the things you really want to do? It’s easy, just stop managing your time. Throw away your micro-minute planner, your must do, have to, would like to list managers and your stop watch, especially that stop watch. (I had a manager once who would put it on his desk before every meeting with me and set it for 15 minutes. I spent the first five minutes gob smacked that he would do that and the last five frantically trying to get my request made.)

Stop wasting your time trying to keep track of it. That’s one of the real secrets to effective time management. Forget what the experts say about priorizing tasks. As if you wouldn’t do that on your own. You do that every minute of every day at work by simply choosing which tasks you are going to work on. You don’t need expert advice or a plan to decide on which call to return or e-mail to answer. Let’s see. I have one from my boss and a hot sales prospect and three from people who want to sell me stuff. Like a time management training program. That’s a no brainer.

Forget about spending your day organizing and reorganizing the piles on your desk. Decluttering, whatever that means, is highly over-rated in my book. I’m not saying that you should live and work like someone from Hoarders Anonymous but you can skip the fifteen minutes spent each morning and afternoon shuffling papers. That’s half an hour that you could be spending doing the work that they are actually paying you for. Or better yet if it’s a nice day you can get out early and beat the rush.

Other oft mentioned time management techniques like multi-tasking and delegating responsibilities are things you have probably already tried and have stopped doing. Because they take too much time in the long run. What’s the point of doing a lot of things quickly but none of them well? Or delegating a task only to have it return to your desk for a do-over. And postponing items or delaying them until tomorrow is not really a strategy. It’s more likely a good way to get yelled at and still have to do the job.

So stop grumbling about how little time you have and instead of trying to artificially stretch it, make the most of it. You may just find that you have more to work with than you think.

 This article first appeared on my blog at www.jobs.ca

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and workplace wellness consultant. He can be reached at mike54martin@sympatico.ca

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