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Annette Quinn Time management thieves in your office

Whenever I facilitate a Time Management training programme, I always ask “What are your time thieves?”.

I get a number of different responses, but the answers are always something similar to:

  • Interruptions
  • Email
  • Phone calls
  • People asking me to do things for them
  • Paperwork
  • Red Tape
  • Crises
  • Other people
  • Meetings
  • Changing priorities

Ready to start improving your Time Management? Download our template time management log here.

I always find it useful to get all the thieves up on a board. As a group we then read through it, usually resulting in most of us agree with all the points, maybe even sharing a few war stories. I then ask them to look again at the list, really look at it. What can they see? What is missing?Notepad

Some people spot it, but most don’t. When it comes to time thieves, we are all guilty of blaming other people, the systems and the organisation. We rarely, if ever, blame ourselves.

However, the root cause of the majority of our time management issues is us. Every solution to the time thieves is down to us as individuals.

Other things will certainly influence it (such as other people and paperwork) but we are in control of all the solutions.

At the end of any time management programme, I use the time thief list as a form of evaluation. I ask the delegates to look at each point and decide:

  • Can I control it/influence it?
  • What tip/technique will help?

Without fail, every thief is caught; some just through an influence, some through total control. Some techniques are surprisingly simple, some require a little nerve, some a lot of nerve and some bravery. But they can all be stopped - or, at the very least, minimised.

Why not come up with your own time thieves? Jot down all the things that stop you from achieving what you need to. I imagine the list will be similar to above, but it’s always good to understand what you think they are.

In my next blog, I will look at the tools and techniques to help. You will be surprised by how simple they all are. All that we need to do is make some readjustment.

Want to know more about how we can help your people remove time thieves and become more efficient? Contact us now.

Ready to start improving your Time Management? Download our template time management log here.


Annette Quinn, Performance Management Facilitator

In my series of blogs I will be taking a look at performance management, in particular Time Management, and providing tips on how to develop your skills.

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