Time thieves internal and external

Published on 18/03/2024

Time thieves internal and external

Published on 18/03/2024
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Time thieves internal and external

Why, then, do some people seem to have much more time than others when time is the same for everyone? We explain in detail the types of time thieves so you can optimize your workday.

We already talked about it in our post, “5 tips to make time management more productive”. A day has 24 hours, not a minute more. And as much as we sometimes want to extend it, it is not possible. We can try to extend our lives to have more time, but every hour we lose will be lost forever and cannot be recovered.

Why, then, do some people seem to have much more time than others when time is the same for everyone?

Probably because they know how to identify and avoid the so-called “time thieves.” They don’t have more time, but they use it better. It is estimated that time thieves can take away between 50 and even 70% of our effective working hours. It is not strange then that many times we have the feeling of not having stopped and achieved very little.

What are those time thieves?

Each one must identify their time thieves, but to help them, we list below the most frequent ones.

We have divided the time thieves into two categories:

External time thieves

  • Unexpected or overly long phone calls. Many times, the phone helps us save time. It is always faster to say than to write. However, we do not have to answer at the first ring, interrupting what we are doing. You have to know how to disconnect the phone when necessary. People will leave a message or call back.
  • The email. Always having it open with pop-ups that notify us of incoming emails causes unnecessary distractions. Disconnect the new message notifier so you avoid losing focus. Define and specify time slots dedicated to reviewing emails (it is recommended not to do it more than 3 times a day). You can even configure the mail to receive emails at specific times, and thus avoid temptations to check your emails outside the hours dedicated to them.
  • Too frequent, too long, and poorly prepared meetings. Attending a meeting is not the same as participating. Preparing a meeting well is essential to making the most of it, making appropriate decisions, etc. If you attend a meeting without having done the previous work, you are wasting time and wasting others’ time.
  • Conversations and interruptions from colleagues.
  • Poorly managed conflicts persist.
  • The lack of information.
  • The poor organization of others.
  • Too cumbersome administrative procedures.

If we know where we lose time, it is easier to control it. We have to learn to say NO, prevent interruptions to our work. It is not about “ignoring others” but attending to them at the right time.

However, not only external time thieves exist; internal time thieves also exist. They are more difficult to identify, but it is essential to do so if we really want to improve our time management.

Internal time thieves

  • Lack of planning for the day. It is important to prepare an agenda at the beginning of each day and review it at the end of the day.
  • Confusing and changing goals and priorities. Identify the tasks that bring more value to your work and prioritize them. Try to organize your tasks by similarity and set time limits for each one.
  • Multitasking habits. Jumping from one topic to another not only drains energy but also reduces effectiveness. Do not start a task if you have not finished the previous one.
  • Perfectionism and excessive detail.
  • Lack of order and classification.
  • Difficulty understanding change.
  • Lack of understanding of information.
  • Difficulty saying no.
  • Fatigue, stress.
  • Difficulty making a decision.

If you eliminate or control some of these time thieves, you will quickly see how you improve your efficiency. You will bring more value to your organization, and, above all, you will have more time for yourself.

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