5 Time Wasters Related to Planning

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Managing your time

In my last post I touched upon five time wasters that are related to self-management and how we can avoid them. In this post I am going to focus on time management and specifically, five time wasters associated with planning.

And, for the first time ever, I am running a poll on what you feel leads to the most time wasted. Please participate in my poll at the end of the post! I am really looking forward to seeing how you vote.

Lack of written goals with deadlines

Floundering is probably the best word to describe what happens when we don’t have clear written goals identified.  There is no bigger time waster than the lack of written goals with deadlines.  The act of having clear written goals is very powerful and will help us stay on track.

How to Avoid: This is an easy one. Set your plan of attack and your end goals down on paper and review them regularly.  For the short-term I have daily and weekly goals and for more long-term planning I have monthly and yearly goals.  I keep those goals in a place in my office where I can see them at all times.  Visibility to my goals helps me stay the course and avoid wasted time floundering from one task to the next.

Failure to break top priority into manageable parts

We all tend to have top priorities at our jobs or at home.  This top priority may seem daunting when we look at the whole project.  Figuring out how to proceed at this seemingly unmanageable task can lead to a lot of wasted time.

How to Avoid: Breaking your top priority into smaller more manageable tasks will help you see the end goal down the road.  When you successfully complete each task along the way to the end goal, it will tend to reinforce the process.  As a result, each completed task will build momentum and keep you focused until the top priority is completed.

Scope Creep

When it comes to project management, scope creep refers to random changes in the scope (aim or purpose) of the project.  If you have ever been involved in any type of project you can certainly relate to this phenomena.  Scope creep can lead to a huge waste of time in your project schedule.

How to Avoid: The best way to avoid scope creep is to identify the clear goals of the project ahead of time.  Defining the deliverables and having all of the drivers sign off on them is extremely important.  If everyone understands and agrees to the end goal of the project then straying from that goal should be less likely.

Snap Decisions based on insufficient facts

Some of us pride ourselves in making quick decisions and we may think that these snap decisions will save us time so we can move forward.  But this may not always be the case.  Making decisions without all of the facts may lead us down the wrong path.

How to Avoid: Gathering all of the facts that are needed to make a decision which could drastically affect the end goal is very important.  Take a little extra time to gather those facts before you waste a lot more time as a result of your snap decision.


On the flip side there are some people who have a hard time making a decision.  Indecision can not only waste a lot of time, but it can lead to morale issues if you have people who are working for you on a project.  Lack of any clear leadership and direction from a manager can only lead to problems.

How to Avoid: Learn to gather the facts as needed and make a wise time-sensitive decision.  If you’re a manager don’t leave your people hanging.

15 thoughts on “5 Time Wasters Related to Planning”

  1. I think for me, what holds me up the most is not so much indecision but lack of consensus from a co-hosts/co-chairs. Whenever there’s a committee involved, there’s a need to be democratic and let’s face it, some committee members just aren’t as involved or responsive as they’d like to be. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often; only when I have to put on a big fundraiser that involves multiple hosts.

    • Hi Belinda,
      In the case you mentioned, lack of consensus should definitely be in the list. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. That is what is great about comments. People give their own examples. I hope you got a chance to leave your choice in the poll on the biggest time waster from the list.


  2. I am actually pretty happy with where I am at. In the past I tended to jump from thing to thing, which is basically “snap decisions based on insufficient facts”, but I’ve since then learned to hold myself back and not make these decisions as fast.

    It also helps to focus 100% on one project only. I’ve noticed when I start to spread myself out to even 2 projects I lose interest in both because it can become so overwhelming.
    .-= Henri´s last blog ..121 Ways to Improve Your Life and Be More Awesome =-.

    • Henri,
      Great point about focusing on one project only. This is EXACTLY how I work the best. I have to feel I have accomplished something before I move onto the next project. I get a little antsy if I have 2 or 3 projects up in the air and they are in flux. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I do complete a project and then can move on. I hope you also took the poll. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Hey, Bob

    This is a great list. I am brilliant at writing lists of goals – my problem is in reviewing and keeping tabs on them. I’ve recently set up a system for myself to review big goals monthly and smaller goals weekly, and diarised my reviews as dates at a coffee shop with myself so I know they’ll happen! It’s early days on this, but it’s going well as I love coffee and the whole thing feels like a fun thing to do.

    • Hi Christine,
      I love the idea of having a date with yourself at a coffee shop to review your goals. What a great idea! I also love coffee. Thanks for contributing and I hope you voted in the poll!


    • Hi Nimia,
      I certainly can relate to what you are saying about meetings. Sometimes it is hard to keep the direction of the meeting if other topics are brought up. I hope that you also took my poll. I also appreciate you citing my previous post in your current post.


  4. Floundering – what a great description.
    It sounds exactly like it is !
    What then tends to happen is it leads to procrastination or distraction – just because we don’t really know what the next step is …

    • Hi Sally,
      Thanks for visiting. When it comes to floundering, I speak from experience! I am hoping to work hard at ridding myself of these time wasters over the coming year. I really appreciate your comment.


  5. Hello Bob,
    Gone through a few posts and it’s a great blog you have here.
    I stumbled on it from erics’ ‘motivate thyself’ website.
    I loved the point on failure to break top priority into manageable parts.I feel it’s important and quite rewarding because we are able to think properly, magae our time, handle the stress that comes along and most of all stay focused.
    I also believe it helps us deal with procrastination.
    To Digress a bit: I’m also studying a postgraduate course online and would let you have my thoughts on that later.
    You take care then!!!
    .-= ayo ´s last blog ..30 Reasons You Need Friends =-.

    • Hi Ayo,
      Thanks for dropping by my blog. Eric is the best. I cannot speak more highly of a person. A “prince of a guy” as my father would say. I am impressed that you are studying a post graduate course online and would love to hear more about that later. Certainly breaking the top priority into more manageable parts is essential to getting it accomplished in a less stressful manner. Thanks again for visiting and I’m heading over to your blog now…
      By the way, you may enjoy this post: https://totallyuniquelife.com/could-you-use-a-life-coach/. I was fortunate to interview two life coaches who are truly wonderful women.



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