Time Management Series
“Overcoming Time-Wasters - Part II” (SL#32)
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 12.1 - Time Management

This article is Part II of the strategy “overcoming time-wasters”; it includes 8 of the 15 most common habits and practices that rob us of productive and satisfying use of our time. See Part I by this title (SL#31), including an introduction, procrastination, and the first seven time-wasters. In each one of the following paragraphs, the time-waster is briefly described and then some responding solutions and strategies are presented. Now, let’s continue:

8. E-Mail: Are you besieged by unwanted e-mail? Do you check for new e-mail every 60 seconds? Wasn’t this technology supposed to save time, not waste it?
Strategies/Actions:

9. Fear of Failure: A common reason for procrastination, fear of failure will force you to push aside starting a project, and will keep you from finishing.
Strategies/Actions:

10. Overwhelmed: Too much to do, too little time. Sometimes the sheer magnitude of work left to do can leave you paralyzed from doing any of it. And the more time you’re distracted by all the other things that must be done, the less you’re focused on the task at hand.
Strategies/Actions:

11. Pleasure comes first: Do you look at your do-it list and jump right to the most pleasurable things first? Just because your diet affords a piece of chocolate cake, doesn’t mean it’s smart to eat it first! The same is true of your schedule!
Strategies/Actions:

12. Nibbling at the edges: Procrastination by getting the easy, peripheral elements of a project out of the way first. Do you find yourself dwelling on the simple elements of a task? The easy things sure can waste a lot of time if you’re using them to put off the meat of the work.
Strategies/Actions:

13. Designed Distractions: Let’s face the truth, we’re talking about TV here! Along with some Internet surfing, and two-hour lunch breaks. The consensus of most surveys indicate that the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV a day . . . that’s 2 months a year, and 12 years of TV watching in a 72-year life.
Strategies/Actions:

14. Indecision: By its very nature, indecision is a primary time-waster and a contributor to the procrastination habit. The causes include: failure to focus, lack of courage, fear of risking, too little information, too much information, lack of systemic thinking in a complex decision, or too much concern for small decisions.
Strategies/Actions:

15. Laziness: Now we’ve finally come to the bad “L” word: lazy--indolent, sluggish, slothful, easygoing. By whatever descriptive term, laziness wastes time, and leads to many of the previously stated behavior patterns. Also, it requires many of the other over-coming strategies.
Strategies/Actions:

Reflection/Action Planning
Are you relatively free from time-wasting practices? If your answer is “Yes,” then enjoy the affirmation and keep it up. If you answer “No,” then pick a specific starting place and start the battle for wiser, more satisfactory time and life management. You are the one to decide what matters most to you; plan what to do and gain a victory over time-wasters.

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 © 2006 servantleaderstoday.com; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at www.servantleaderstoday.com
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership