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Fulfillment Tips [Dream Job Coaching]

Fulfillment @ Work

   July 11, 2006
   ISSN: 1533-3906


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July may epitomize the lazy days of summer, but you wouldn't know it by the frantic pace most of us keep all summer (and every other season). We feel so hurried, so rushed, and so far behind that time seems to be the enemy as it stubbornly pushes us forward.

Of course, time isn't really the enemy. We create our issues with time by taking it for granted, making poor use of it, or driving ourselves to get more done in a given amount of time than humanly possible.

But once we learn to manage the time we have each day, we can begin to view time as an ally. A great way to start is by learning to avoid the time traps that most of us fall into. This week's feature article will help you identify your personal time traps so that you can develop strategies for avoiding them. And when you're ready to take the next step, check out my newest ebook: Time Management Mastery: Stress-free productivity in the 7 key ares of life.

Have a productive and unhurried week,



Avoid Time Traps

Time traps are the pitfalls we can fall into if we're not paying attention. They seem to lay in wait for us as we innocently go about our day and will rob you of time, energy, and focus if you let them. The only way to avoid time traps is to be aware that they exist and stay alert, ready to block or divert them.

We all have our own personal set of time traps, the ones that trip us up frequently. What are yours? To help you start your list, here are a few common time traps that my clients often include on their lists:

• Spending a disproportionately high amount of time in the offices where they find the most congenial people, as opposed to where the most important issues are.

• Wasting too much time getting daily updates on routine activities as opposed to waiting for a more meaningful weekly summary.

• Jumping too eagerly into routine, straightforward work and putting off the more complex and difficult tasks.

• Not starting the more important work first thing in the morning.

• Not bothering to make up a schedule for each day.

• Scheduling each day so tightly that it becomes impossible to stay on track and the schedule quickly becomes meaningless.

Many time traps do their dirty work by wasting valuable time that could be used more productively. In his book The Time Trap, Alec MacKenzie identifies the following activites as the 20 biggest time wasters in the workplace:

1. Management by crisis

2. Telephone interruptions

3. Inadequate planning

4. Attempting too much

5. Drop-in visitors

6. Ineffective delegation

7. Personal disorganization

8. Lack of self-discipline

9. Inability to say no

10. Procrastination

11. Meetings

12. Paperwork

13. Leaving tasks unfinished

14. Inadequate staff

15. Socializing

16. Confused responsibility or authority

17. Poor communication

18. Inadequate controls and reports

19. Incomplete information

20. Travel

If any of these time wasters give you trouble, add them to your own list of time traps. Now that you're aware of their potential to derail your effectiveness, come up with a strategy for avoiding each trap. But don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed by trying to tackle your entire list all at once. Focus on just one or two each week and you'll soon enjoy a big boost in your productivity and overall outlook.


"The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves."
~ Stephen R. Covey

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
~ Andy Warhol

"What is time for except to be wasted?"
~ Alan Watts


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