How can you eliminate the time wasters in your life?

Don’t waste my time. One of the greatest sins of modern society is to waste time. It is even worse to waste someone else’s time. Unfortunately, there are numerous ways that you can waste time. Pace Productivity conducted surveys among 690 employees and entrepreneurs across North America. The first question they asked was designed to find out which factors impeded respondents’ productivity that were outside of their control. The following were the top ten time wasters that respondents felt they had no control over.

135 Paperwork / administrative tasks
115 Customer requests: service / problems / complaints
101 Phone calls / phone interruptions / inquiries
86 Computer / system / equipment problems
58 No internal support / other departments’ inefficiency
45 Unspecified interruptions
43 Traffic / travel
38 Meetings – too many / too long / unnecessary
38 Volume of work / not enough time
36 Staffing issues / people absent

This is a very interesting list. No doubt there are many aspects of time that we cannot control. However, the first question I have when looking at this list is the validity of the respondents’ assumption that they have “no control” over these time wasters. I admit that in several of these areas, it is difficult to have control, but the operational word is difficult. I would stop at the word impossible. I lean towards looking at what I can do to have more control over my life and I refuse to abdicate control in many of these so called time waster areas. I might only have partial control but once I assert this control, I can minimize the impact of the time wasted.

Do you see some areas above that you also feel you could take some control over? What are the biggest time wasters in your life? Do you think they are all out of your control or do you think you have some control over them? Pick one large time waster in your life. What could you do today that would help you to gain control and minimize this time waster in your life?

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