5 Time Wasters Related to Self-Management

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To Do ListIncreasing productivity is a goal for most of us but there are many time wasters that can drastically affect how much we get done in our daily lives. In this post I will touch upon five time wasters that are related to managing ourselves each day and tips on how we can avoid them. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

1. Personal Disorganization

You may not consider being disorganized a time waster but it can surely be a major symptom. If you have a cluttered desk or a poorly organized filing system (or none at all), you certainly could waste time finding certain items associated with projects that you’re currently working on.
How to avoid: Take a few minutes each morning or at the end of the day to clean your desk and organize your filing system. Your organizational skills are extremely important! This will go a long way in helping you find paperwork or documents associated with the projects you need to tackle that day and the next.

2. Procrastination

I must say that I am as guilty of procrastination as the next person. Putting off what you know you have to work on is the epitome of time-wasting.

How to avoid: Setting clear and distinct goals for each day should help considerably in your fight against procrastination. Review what you have accomplished at the end of each day. This should help reinforce your daily fight against procrastination.

3. Attempting too much by yourself

Being self-sufficient is honorable but trying to do too much is another. Trying to figure out how to do something that you don’t specialize in can be a huge time waster.
How to avoid: Ask for the help of others who have a specific skill rather than trying to figure it out on your own and, as a result, wasting time doing so. If you want to revisit it later, then do so but try to use others to help you reach your goals. You may find that you may also be able to help them out in their next project.

4. Socializing or pointless conversations

I’m sure that everyone’s eyes lit up reading this one. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of this time waster. Obviously there is a time and a place for socializing but there can come a point when it can consume huge volumes of time. These conversations, unless they are related to your project, can grab precious time from accomplishing your goals.
How to avoid: If you have a hard time avoiding such conversations, ask a co-worker to step in if they see you in a conversation that has escalated into a big time waster. Have that person either call your phone or drop by and say that your services are needed. One technique that I use regularly is to excuse myself and head to the restroom. Whatever works for you use it…

5. Meetings

I do my best to avoid as many meetings as possible. I’ve been to too many meetings that clearly had no direction and had no goals defined as a result of the meeting. Arbitrary meetings in the corporate world are the biggest culprits that can lead to a big waste of time. Whomever has called the meeting should use his or her organizational skills wisely.
How to avoid: Be inquisitive of the meeting organizer before the meeting as to why you are invited. Too often I have been invited to meetings where I really had no role. It’s almost like the organizer says to himself “Let’s invite Bob. He may be able to contribute something.” Learning to say “No” may be tough to do but it is necessary if you want to accomplish your goals. Don’t waste an hour or more in a meeting that isn’t to your advantage.

Wasting time related to managing yourself is something that we have to avoid if we want to accomplish our daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Hopefully this post has identified some of your major time wasters and tips in how to avoid them. Next time I will discuss
5 time wasters related to planning. See you then…

10 thoughts on “5 Time Wasters Related to Self-Management”

  1. Hi Bob, these are great tips. I agree with everything especially meetings. Thankfully, I work with a lot of super-busy types who also try to avoid meetings if possible. I think that meetings are necessary at times especially if there’s a “show and tell” portion or need for creative brainstorming. But so often meetings are poorly-run by not sticking to the agenda or letting others have the floor out of turn. I agree, if there needs to be a meeting, there should be a clear end time.

    I really like all your “how to avoid” suggestions.

    • Hi Belinda,
      Thanks for reading. I agree that there is certainly a need for meetings at times but I think people just love to fill their days up with meetings. It gives them an excuse not to accomplish their real goals. You are lucky in that you work with like-minded people.


  2. Hi Bob,

    I stopped in from Problogger.com. I am guilty of all of these things so I guess I am a professional time waster. I wish there were more money in that field:)

    Actually, I appear to be disorganized to other people, but there is only order in my brain that way so I don’t think it counts.

    Great blog. I love your topics. Looks I’ll be wasting more time…

    Debbie Ferm

    • Hi Debbie,
      Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate you leaving them. I hope you got a chance to take the poll in my latest post related to time wasters associated with planning. Thanks again for reading my posts!


  3. I gave up filing emails. I receive about 150 emails a day and reply to all of them. Time is too scarce for me to file anything. Proper filing would require me about two weeks and new mail would just accumulate. My income does not allow me to have a secretary yet. Once I am done replying them according to my own system of priorities I just move them to a new archive folder and go on. I am relying much more on my memory so that in case that my computer dies, relevant information remains in my memory.

    • Hi Ruben,
      Thanks for the comment and I hope you get a chance to vote in my current poll at the end of my current post. You certainly get a lot of emails I can see why you don’t file them all. Time is too scarce. Good luck with controlling that mountain of email.


  4. I am definitely disorganized when it comes to my desk. I have to say I think clutter around the home really does have a negative effect on my productivity – one of my resolutions is to be more tidy! I also agree about taking on too much yourself, I think this is something I really need to work on. Ultimately I think we need to find the way we work best and stick to it.
    .-= Ruth – Web Career Girl´s last blog ..Remember to Set Goals Bigger Than Your Work =-.

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