What would you do with an extra 2 hours a day?

What I would be doing....

What would you do with 65 hours each year?

I'm weird! I live for finding great time saving tips or that next great time management technique to make more effective use of my time. When I learn about a new online tool that will save me 15 minutes a day in my business, I jump for joy. My wife? She thinks I'm weird. To get that excited over a 15 minutes savings is crazy, she tells me. But do you know what 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year equals?

3900 minutes, or 65 hours each year! From just 1 tip!

What would you do with an extra 65 hours?

Time management tips are of course great to learn about, but what kinds of things in our every day life are robbing us of precious minutes or hours, EACH AND EVERY DAY? To find out, you really need to take an inventory of your life and determine the biggest time wasters that are preventing you from getting the most out of your day and utilizing effective time management techniques. We all struggle with time management. There are only so many hours in a day. And that number will never change. We need to take advantage of time saving tips everywhere we can. Why? I don't know about you but I enjoy spending time playing golf, going for a jog or catching a movie at the local Cineplex. Call me selfish but I enjoy resting and relaxing (and sleeping). And I may just be totally out in left field on this one but I love having time to spend with family and friends.

Be sure not to abuse these time wasters... or else....

Time to identify these time stealers in your life...

So, to get us to the point where we have that quality time for friends, family and hobbies, we need to review a quick list of the most common time stealers I know. Then we can take a more in depth look at my top 10:

  • Inability to just say "No"
  • Meetings
  • Stress and fatigue
  • Lack of planning
  • Desk management and personal organization (or lack there of)
  • Inadequate technical knowledge
  • Procrastinations and indecision
  • Acting with incomplete information
  • Telephone interruptions
  • Unclear objectives and priorities
  • Dealing with team members
  • Unclear communication
  • Interruptions from visitors
  • Tasks you should have delegated
  • Crisis management (i.e. fire fighting)

And the list goes on and on. It's our job using effective time management to identify which of these evil time stealers is killing us and limiting our productivity. Once identified you simply find a way to eliminate them. This is a crucial time management activity.

Have I got your attention yet? Have you identified with any of these wicked stealers of time? While I've tried to highlight as many as possible, I want to spend a little in depth time below on my top 10.

These are the 10 you want to truly avoid...

Now we can look at my top 10 in a little more detail to really try and root out the problem and figure out why you can't seem to get your to do list done each day. I should note that these are in no particular order).

1. Lack of priorities or objectives. This is probably THE biggest and most important time waster of all. Successful business owners will tell you the way to a productive day is to know exactly what you want to accomplish each day. Unfortunately, too many people think that setting goals are something you do annually. Wrong! This type of thinking results in you focusing on minor things and not the things that are important for you to be successful.

2. Telephone. Many have praised the phone as the greatest invention ever for its ability to allow long distance communication. Only recently, business owners and managers have realized that it is the biggest enemy to your effectiveness if you can't control how it's used.

3. Unannounced Visitors. You can hear it now, those 5 words that spell "wasted time" - Do you have a minute? Colleagues, your boss, your family, everyone can contribute to this major time waster. Figuring out how to deal with this one is tricky.

4. Examine your workspace. Look at your desk right now. If you can only see 20% or less, you are probably suffering from "desk stress". Now look around at your most successful peers. Are there desk looking a little better than yours?

5. Control freaks beware. All managers and business owners need to develop the ability to delegate properly. Those that do this successfully will both build team moral and reduce their own workload while making sure the work gets done correctly. A different spin of the old 80/20 rule works here. If one of your employees can do a job 80% as well as you, then you probably need to delegate it.

6. Procrastination. While making a bad decision could hurt you in some ways, not making any decision will certainly rob you of productive time. By reducing your procrastination, you will almost certainly increase your time and be more productive.

7. Fire Fighting. Peter Drucker, the noted management guru, says that "crisis management is actually the form of management preferred by most managers." But if you think about that, your actions beforehand may prevent a fire before it happens. Someone else once said, "An ounce of prevention...."

8. I can do it! Now here's one I'm guilty of. These days, many of us feel that we need to get everything done, and yesterday! We don't give ourselves enough time to do things the way they need to get done. This leads to frustrated feelings as projects often remain half finished.

9. Meetings. Been to a really good meeting lately? One where everyone is clear and concise and no one rambles on or gets off on a tangent? Me neither. Recent studies have shown that the average business owner or manager spends around 17 hours each week in meetings, about 5 hours in the planning of meetings, and a bunch more time in endless follow up. Poor planning, lack of meeting management and peers that abuse the meeting platform contribute to one of the biggest time wasters in business today.

10. Just say No. Many people today follow the rule, if they can dump their work or problems on you, they will. You must develop the necessary skill of saying no without the fear of upsetting someone.

Looking at these top 10, how many can you eliminate today? Tomorrow? Next week? Eliminate at least 3 and you'll easily gain an extra 2 hours a day!

Wanna save 10 minutes everytime you go online?

Don't overlook this productivity tip!

Have you learned anything yet?

Time management, or the ability to manage yourself, is really not that hard to get a handle on. But like anything you do in life, you have to be committed to installing effective time management techniques into your life and really into your every day routine. Someone once told me their simple mantra was to "plan your work and work your plan" By getting rid of the time wasting activities in your life and planning your work, you truly can find the extra time you need each day and each week to take on the activities that are important to you. And of course, this will all lead to you having more time for the more important things in life.

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Comments 8 comments

stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK

Unplanned interruptions are the ones that get me. The phone calls from friends who think that because they work in a traditional company, and because you work from home, they can call you after work for a chat that lasts an hour. Three times a week. I have a friend who uses her car journey home to call me whilst she is stuck in traffic. She does not appreciate that her traffic time is my prime time.

Good hub, Better Yourself!

Craig Dewe profile image

Craig Dewe 8 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

Umm...I think you need to add to your list:

Watching videos of Terry Tate tackling office workers...

I think it's time for me to get a productivity expert!

Nice hub, good tips.

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

That's funny Craig, I scheduled a visit with Terry for my office and we have seen a huge spike in productivity from my team!

Cindy Lietz profile image

Cindy Lietz 8 years ago from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I know what you mean about people interrupting your day when you work from home. Just because I don't commute, it doesn't mean I don't have 'a real job'!

If I had an extra 2 hours a day, I would definitely be in my studio making polymer clay beads! I'm one of those lucky ones, whose work is her play!

Thank you for the great productivity tips... It should help squeeze a little more out of my day!

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Cindy. Definitely making your work like play will help speed your day along and at least seem like you have an extra 2 hours!


Cynthia Kasper profile image

Cynthia Kasper 8 years ago

While in the moment, those little interruptions seem insignificant. Add them up, and they become monumental. Thanks for a great Hub.

Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Cynthia. I couldn't agree more. A large part of managing our time is not just "to do" lists and prioritizing our tasks, but to identify and eliminate the big Time Wasters! Keep an eye on my blog at www.the26hourday.com/public where you can gain valuable time in your day and how to stomp the life out of those pesky time stealers!


Elizabeth31 profile image

Elizabeth31 7 years ago

Cutting out TV has inspired our familiy to use down time more creativly.

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