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To Catch a Thief - 6 Steps to Eliminate Your Time Stealers


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Step 1 – Know Your Thief

What are things that lead you to say, “I don’t have enough time”? What is it that you are spending your time on that you feel is preventing you from achieving all that you want to achieve in a day or week? Is it email, too many or unproductive meetings, interruptions, work overload or too many priorities?

Create a list - and be honest. When you know specifically, on what and how you are spending your time, you can then decide whether it’s contributing to what you want to achieve or not.

Step 2 – Stakeout and Surveillance

For 3 consecutive working days, analyse how and on what you spend your time. On a sheet of paper or in an excel sheet, write out timings starting from when you start work, say 0830, in 30 minute slots, until the time you finish your day. For example

0830 - 0900

0900 – 0930


1700 – 1730

For each 30 minute slot, write down exactly how you spend that time – no cheating!

After the 3 days, analyse where your time was spent and if there are any patterns.

Step 3 – Identify the Godfathers and Small Timers

What are the top 5 things that you spend time on that you feel is unproductive time? From your list in step 1 and analysis in step 2, rank them with “robs most of my time” at the top to “petty thief” at the bottom.

Step 4 – Pick Them Off 1 by 1

Decide whether you are going to tackle some of the “small timers” or whether you are going to go straight for the eliminating or neutralising the “godfathers”. Are you motivated to change the easy things first and get some quick wins or are you so frustrated by certain things that you must attack those first? Whichever you choose, commit to 1 thing at a time and achieve it.

Step 5 – Keep Up the Pressure

Once you have tackled 1 or 2 time stealers review how and on what you are spending your time again. Have you filled that time with more time stealers or are you now finding that your time is being spent more productively? Consistently reviewing where you are focusing your time will help your awareness and awareness is key in enabling further change.

Step 6 - Install Your Alarm

Prevention is better than cure. You have neutralised your time stealers and you now need to put and “alarm system” in place to make sure that you are not caught out in future.

Plan to review how and on what you spend your time weekly and monthly. Ask friends and colleagues to be your “neighbourhood watch” and tell you when they think you are focusing your time on areas that are unproductive for you or don’t contribute to the achievement of your goals.

Time is a finite resource and how you utilise that resource efficiently and effectively can generate a productive, fruitful and happy life or an unproductive, stressful and frustrating life.

The key to productivity is knowing on what and how you need to be spending your time in order to achieve your goals; whether they are work objectives and performance targets or personal goals to create the right work life balance for you.

About the Author

Beverley Hamilton works with independent business consultants to help them grow a profitable consultancy and still have time for their life. You can get my Free Ecourse Discover the 5 Most Common Incorrect Assumptions Independent Business Consultants Make and a complimentary subscription to Quickstart, the newsletter specifically for consultants. Go to One Step Further for more instantly accessible resources. Your future Your choice!

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-01-16 00:08:10 in Personal Articles

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