The Top 5 Time Killers (and how to handle them)

The Top 5 Time Killers (and how to handle them)

“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”  Peter Drucker, Author & Management Consultant

In order to prioritize the time we need to spend on business development, we should start with the all-important topic of time management. If you agree with Mr. Drucker’s observation above, you know that time is the most important resource we have. The good news is, if we utilize our time correctly, we should have no problem reaching our annual goals.

The Worst Time Killers

Let’s start our discussion by identifying the main causes of wasted time. Just by becoming aware of these time wasters, you’ll find that it will help eliminate many unimportant habits.

According to a recent survey by OfficeTime, a time productivity software application, these were the top 5 time wasters of the 1,300 respondents. The percentages represent the number of respondents identifying the topic as an issue.

  1. Email (44%)
  2. Meetings (42%)
  3. Internet surfing (22%)
  4. Travel/Commuting (17%)
  5. Procrastination (10%)

Solutions to Time Killers

If you can identify with this list, here are some Ideas on how to manage these time killers:

  1. Email
    • Eliminate the visual and audio notification of new emails on your computer and mobile phone to eliminate the constant interruption. (Try this, really. It’s amazing)
    • Check your emails on a schedule (2-3 times per day is what I use).
    • Start your day on your most pressing task, not email.
  2. Meetings
    • If you’re attending a meeting, ask how it will help meet your objectives before committing. Discuss your attendance thoughtfully with the leader.
    • If you are leading, carefully invite only those directly affected. Know that many will attend out of obligation, but they may not feel the power to say “no”. Being “inclusive” may just waste a lot of people’s time.
  3. Internet Surfing
    • A little diversion is fine now and then, but does it lead to endless reading of inconsequential articles or watching low value sports highlights or random cat videos?
  4. Travel/Commuting
    • This is an excellent time for making important calls to further your business development goals. People often comment that they know I’m on the move – that’s the only time they hear from me!
    • Check out the myriad of great podcasts that will add value to your life and career. For example, has over 15,000 shows you can leverage.
    • If you’re driving most mornings, leave before rush hour starts and arrive early. Stop at your office or Starbucks early and use your saved commuting time to advance your career. This helped me stop yelling at traffic and fuming over distracted drivers who cause needless wrecks every day. Huge time saver.
    • No texting while driving, please. See “c” above.
  5. Procrastination
    • Let me get back to you on that…just kidding.
    • The best remedy here is a clear understanding of your most important goals. If there are no clear goals, there will be no commitment of the time and resources it will really take to achieve your potential.
    • I’ve often joked that if we were serious about our goals, we should tattoo it somewhere on our body (where we can read it preferably). If we’re serious about our future, are we serious about committing to our goals? Is your goal in writing?

The Truth

If you look back a few weeks, how have you handled the time wasters mentioned above? Is your typical day affected by them in any way? The suggestions above are merely ways to help you think about managing that precious resource known as your waking hours. Please let me know if you have ideas, questions or comments that may help.