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Eliminate Wasted Time [Fulfillment@Work]

Fulfillment @ Work


February 17th, 2009
   ISSN: 1533-3906

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Please forward this newsletter about eliminating wasted time to your family, friends, and coworkers.

To subscribe to Fulfillment@Work, visit this link

Admit it. When your computer alerted you to this email, you checked your inbox almost immediately, didn't you?

You're not alone. According to a survey by Basex, an IT analysis firm, roughly 60 percent of executives and knowledge workers fall victim to this "trap." And they'll pay a staggering price for their curiosity. The company says that more than one-fourth of your day could be wasted because of unnecessary interruptions, like instant messaging, spam e-mail, telephone calls and surfing the Net in general.

If you want some tips on how to better manage your email and eliminate wasted time at work, I encourage you to read the article below. Or, if you're in the middle of something more important, print it out and read it when it's more convenient.

See? I already saved you a couple of minutes!

Good luck!

P.S. If you're looking to increase your value to your organization, consider ways to take on additional roles and responsibilities. Recently, I was asked by Microsoft for advice on ways to do this. Here's the article: The Double-Duty CIO for the Microsoft CIO Network.



Garfinkle Executive Coaching
Dream Job Coaching


Eliminate Wasted Time

Would you like to gain more than two hours of productivity each day without working longer hours?

It's simple. Stop wasting your time.

According to a survey by AOL and, the average American admits to wasting more than two hours a day while at work.

Think about how you manage your time and the things that distract you from doing your job. Are you guilty of any of the following?

  • Personal Internet use
  • Socializing with coworkers
  • Conducting personal business
  • "Spacing out"
  • Running errands

Those were the major time-wasters listed by the survey's 10,000 respondents.

Obviously, socializing with your colleagues is important and getting away from your desk or computer can help you refresh, clear your thoughts and make you even more productive.

When my clients ask me for ways to make the best use of their time at work, I suggest they (1) look for ways to reduce interruptions and (2) do a better job of managing their email.

Interruptions Steal Precious Time

Did you know the average worker experiences fifty interruptions a day? These are phone calls, people stopping by your office, and so on. Some are these interruptions are work-related, of course, but many are time-wasters.

The first step to reducing interruptions is to recognize them. I tell my clients to keep a journal on their desks to record them. Jot down things like "Jim called to schedule Saturday's golf game, 5 minutes" or "Tamara stopped by talk about Ken's retirement party, 10 minutes."

Then, after a few days, take a look at your list. How many of these interruptions involve your work priorities? How can you reduce or eliminate those that don't?

One approach may be not answering your phone or keeping your door shut from nine until 11 a.m. each morning. I had a client change the position of his desk so it didn't face the doorway. If a colleague is a chronic interrupter, you might say, "I've up against a deadline, Ed. Let's talk about the football game over lunch, okay?"

Managing Your Email

Instead of letting your email/blackberry control you, you need to control it. Marissa Peterson, executive vice president of worldwide operations, Sun Microsystems overseas more than 2,000-person staff and receives 300 emails a day and she deals with every single message. Her inbox is completely empty every day. She gets in control of it by only checking it twice a day (morning and at night).

Here the key tips on managing email:

  • Reply to, file or discard every email.
  • Discipline yourself to keep your email inbox empty.
    Dump as much as you can.
  • Address immediately any action that will take less than two minutes.
  • Group actions that will take more than two minutes into an "Action" folder.
  • Select certain times during the day to check all your messages at once.

Consider Going "Cold Turkey"

If you're an email "addict," consider going "cold turkey" at least one day a month. Set your auto-responder to inform people you are in the office, but are taking a day off email. If it's urgent, ask them to call or stop by.

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"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort."
~ Paul J. Meyer~

"I wasted time and now time doth wasted me."
~ William Shakespeare~

"Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain about its brevity."
~ La Bruyere~


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Copyright 2009, Joel Garfinkle, all rights reserved.
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