First Ten Time Wasters, Causes and Solutions




1. Attempting too much

· Over ambition and inordinate need to achieve

· Over response

· Over desire to appear cooperative

Ask your self what you are trying to prove. Be realistic. Keep perspective. Stop idling yourself.

Limit your response to the real demands of the situation

Stay uninvolved if other can handle it. Stop saying yes just because you want to be appreciated.

2. Confused responsibility of authority

· Failure to clarify precise responsibilities

· Job overlap

· Responsibility without authority

Prepare list of responsibilities for approval

Identify area of duplication. Eliminate

Insist on commensurate authority (equal to responsibility)

3. Drop-in-visitors

· No plans for unavailability

· Expecting subordinates to check with you excessively

· Inability to terminate visits

Recognize that “open door” does not mean physically open, but open to those who need assistance. Implement quiet hour; screening; hideaway

Manage by exception

Meet others outside your office. Stand upon entry and keep standing

4. Inability to say “No”

· Possess capabilities in demand

· Not knowing how to refuse

· Can’t say no to boss

Refuse to spread yourself too thin. Concentrate your efforts

Count to 10 before saying “yes”. When saying “no” give reasons, suggest alternatives.

Say no by showing list of agreed-upon priorities. If boss insists, agree, but advise what you fear will not get done.

5. Inadequate controls & progress reports

· Unaware of importance

· Lack of enforcement of controls

Recognize that controls monitor progress and correct variance, thus guaranteeing satisfactory performance.

Recognize this means you might as well not have controls.

6. Inadequate planning

· Unaware of importance

· Assumption that since few days are ”typical”, it is futile to plan

· Have plan in mind but believe it is not important enough to write it down

Recognize that every hour in effective planning saves four in execution and gets better results.

Recognize that most managers tend to waste time in the same ways everyday.

Recognize that no memory is infallible, and that no to-do list is complete until priorities and deadlines are met.

7. Inadequate Staff

· Lack training

· Limited finances

Recognize that without competent staff, effective delegation is impossible. Make staff training a priority.

Conduct cost-benefit analysis. Demonstrate what additional staff would do at what cost.

8. Incomplete information

· Lack system

· Lack of authority to require information needed

· Indecision or delay by others in providing needed information

Determine what information is needed. Then ensure its availability, reliability and timeliness.

Clarify authority. Use response deadlines. Take problem to boss if unsuccessful.

“Unless I hear” memo. Meet to explain importance of information.

9. Ineffective delegation

· Can do the job better and faster

· Over control

· More comfortable “doing” than “managing”

Lower standards to what is acceptable, not your own level of performance. Avoid perfectionism.

Relax. Emphasize goal-accomplishment, not methods. Measure results, not activities.

Remember the job of the manager is managing, not doing.

10. Lack of self-discipline

· Lack objective or standards

· Not following up

· Leaving tasks unfinished

Set objectives in key results area. Develop standards (conditions that will exist when the job is done well)

Recognize that people do what you inspect-not what you expect-and the same goes for you.

Complete tasks before putting them down. Handle it once. Get done the first time.

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