As we celebrate the start of 2013 and work towards our goals for the year ahead, no doubt many of you are focused on getting more done and generally being more productive. Your efforts can easily be sabotaged if you allow the Time Stealer into your life. The Magnificent Chameleon has been exploring the world of The Time Stealer and has some advice about how to vanquish this particularly grizzly villain.
What does the Time Stealer do?
The clue is in the name really; the Time Stealer will brazenly steal your time away, leaving you struggling to fit in all that you need to do and want to do.
How can you tell if The Time Stealer is active in your organisation?
The Time Stealer works in mysterious ways and you may not know that they are active in your organisation until it’s too late and you’re suffering the consequences. Deadlines approach at an alarming pace and projects that you thought you had plenty of time to complete are suddenly due and you simply can’t see how they are ever going to be finished on time.
You might also find that the Time Stealer works with a team of Henchmen, adept at filling your time with pointless chatter and gossip, endless meetings, requests and diversions that take you away from the pressing jobs that you should be tackling.
Here’s what you’ll see and hear:
You feel like you’ve been busy, but when you look at what you’ve achieved you’ve hardly made any progress at all on the important stuff you had on your list
“It’s not quite done yet, is first thing tomorrow ok?”
As your colleagues head home for the evening, you’re still chained to your desk, submerged under a pile of papers and an ever increasing inbox
“Don’t stay too late!”
You find yourself in a state of panic as you realise how much needs to be done and how little time you have to do it in
“There is just no time to get all this done ~ it’s ridiculous!”
Your day starts well before everyone else’s because you think that if you get into work early you’ll have time to catch up
“Did you sleep here last night?”
Your family are complaining that they don’t see enough of you, you’re home too late and you do everything a the last minute
“You’re late; the kids are already in bed!”
Your weekends become a time to catch up on admin and emails, rather than being spent enjoying yourself and recharging your batteries
“I’m sorry I’ll just be another 5 minutes.”
And then there’s the ‘stress trap’?
The Time Stealer will sometimes lay the ‘stress trap’ to ensnare you. This trap has a powerful effect and can leave you feeling that there is nothing that can be done. It feels like an impossible situation; you have too much to do and you simply don’t know where to start. You feel your motivation ebbing away and it’s the trivial and the urgent tasks that get your attention, leaving no time for the important work, the more proactive and strategic activities. Until of course, they become urgent too. Stress builds and productivity flounders.
Once you’ve identified The Time Stealer is at large, how do you stop their villainous ways?
Here are 7 tactics you could try……
1. The Time Stealer knows the value of your time. What value do you place on your time? If you treat your time as being highly valuable, the Time Stealer will find it less easy to steal it way from you as you’ll do everything you can to protect this precious and irreplaceable commodity.
2. Become aware of the little things that the Time Stealer does to steal your time. Is it the temptation of social media or the mess that your desk is in? Is it a call and the opportunity to chat or is it the email notification in the corner of your screen that’s grabbing your attention? What can you do to avoid a guilty pleasure becoming a full on Time Stealer?
3. Begin each day with a plan and, within reason, stick to it. Be realistic about what you can achieve and make sure you prioritise well so that you spend some time progressing the important work that moves you closer to your goals.
4. When a project seems just too huge to tackle, break them down into much smaller steps and ask yourself, “What’s the smallest thing I can do to this forward?” This will help you to avoid the ‘stress trap’ too.
5. Look out for one of the Time Stealer’s henchman, The Great Gossip. Make your excuses and get on with the task at hand. The Great Gossip might have time to give away, but you don’t.
6. From the outset decide on the milestones that will signal to you that you are on the right track and making good progress. Ward off the Time Stealer by rewarding yourself every time you reach a key milestone.
7. Even if you know that the Time Stealer has struck you today, think about how and why you let him into you day, commit to making some small but important changes to the way you work then start tomorrow with renewed vigour and the best of intentions.
What do you do to keep The Time Stealer at bay?
We’d love you to share your experiences and join in the conversation by hopping over to our Pants People Group on Linked In; we’re talking about The Silo next. We’d love you to work with us to help banish these villains in your organisation once and for all……go on, grab your mask and cape and be a superhero!