Are You a Time Thief?

by RJ on May 18, 2012

Are You a Time Thief?

Everyone is a thief with time. You probably waste more time than you spend working. One definition of time management is “To identify critical areas of lost and wasted time.” Definitions are great but do you know how much time you waste in a day, a month and a year? If you read any time management books they always mention studies done show that we waste up to 60% of our day. Did you ever sit down and monitor an average day, week and month and log everything that you did? Take a look at a sample form that could keep you on track. Keep this with you at all times and fill out every minute. One of the good things about this day timer is that it reminds you that you’re wasting time and you may find yourself getting more work done. If you’re honest and fill it out after every hour you may find out that you waste a great deal of time.


We had a salesman once that never left the office. We had to put a mirror under his nose to see if he was still breathing. I know it’s a bad joke but makes a point.


When I lived inCaliforniaI spent a lot of time in traffic. I noticed the best use of time, although dangerous, from men shaving and the women putting on their makeup while driving at 70MPH. These time saving features stopped as soon as many of them reached the office.


While doing some consulting for a major computer company, I observed salespeople and other employees for about a week. Many would arrive in the office and complain about the traffic while getting their first cup of coffee. Some even washed out their personalized coffee cup and some even had to chisel it out if it was left over the weekend. Then many discussed the last evening’s news, TV shows and sports recap. After about 15 to 20 minutes they settled down to their desk to make room for their briefcase and laptop and then shuffle some papers and their phone messages and decide what they wanted to do today. Now it was time for a second cup of coffee and more conversation. Now when they get back to their desk they have to reshuffle their papers and phone messages. They can’t really decide on what to do first. Maybe they should do some personal items before everyone gets busy. How about some personal calls to plan the evening or lunch, maybe a few personal checks that are past due, and a form that needed to be filled in from your insurance company. This might be a good time to check out the prices on the web for a new camera or ipad. Some were even checking out tires and wheels for their car while having their second and third cup of coffee. Some were checking out some clothing sales on the web and maybe seeing if the local stores might have it in stock. Might have to sneak out some time today to check it out. Maybe before or after lunch. After some time deciding if they had enough information to call someone it’s lunch time. If I call my customer now maybe I might get his voice mail and I’ve dodged a bullet. Finally some might even get down to business and find some easy tasks to accomplish so they feel that they accomplished something for the day. This goes on all day and continues for the whole week. The productivity for the week was dismal. I’m not saying that all people have days like this but in recent studies the norm is poor productivity.


If you earn $50,000 a year, each hour is worth $30. To your company it’s worth about $120 per hour. A cup of coffee is now worth about $20 per cup. Think about these numbers the next time you waste time.


Of course as the day wears on you start thinking about the heavy traffic. Maybe I should get an early start and do a few errands on the way home. Wow what a day. I didn’t get much done. Maybe tomorrow, but the same scenario is going to happen again. Here’s a simple solution that you may want to follow, if not make one that works for you and follow it.


8AM to 9AM              Paperwork

9Am to 12Noon          Prospecting either on the phone or door to door

1PM to 5PM               Scheduled appointments

5PM to 6PM               Review the day, get organized and plan for tomorrow


Don’t let anything change your plan. Identify your critical areas of lost and wasted time and get motivated.



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