Am I a victim of misguided pursuits?

by Sam on May 11, 2010

One-Minute Answer:  Only if you’re a lot like the rest of us.


Welcome to a fourth look at the way we chew up our day. These past three weeks you’ve learned how to minimize non-productive behaviors that fall in the routine, crisis, and wasted classes of time. Before we turn our attention to the preferred strategic class, there is one more temporal evil to confront—the misguided category of pursuits.


The bad news about these ill-advised uses of time is that they often catch us unaware of the damage they do. They almost seduce us into submission. The good news is that once we recognize them for what they are the remedies are direct and effective.


So see where and how you can make better investment choices for your effort.



Five-Minute Answer:  Which of the misguided activities on the left are you guilty of more than you’d care to admit? Do the corrective actions on the right look helpful? Admit to the three most inadvisable uses of time that infect your day. Once cured, you’ll celebrate your newfound freedom.


Instead of doing this…

I’ll do this…

Making more commitments than you can handle thereby diluting your effectiveness

Evaluate how well every commitment I’ve made adds to my life goals and to others; ditch or delegate the bottom 10%

Working on other than your highest priority at the moment or being disorganized

Each day, look at my next five work days starting with day five; being certain I have a plan for meeting my deadlines

Doing work that someone making less money in your organization should do

Get out of the weeds except when necessary

Striving toward unworthy goals

Perform strategic planning to identify the priorities that will achieve the long-term vision and short-term targets for my team

Rework needed to correct mistakes, thoughtlessness, or poor judgment

Grow from my missteps to make them rarer

Engaging in unappreciated/unnecessary precision, excellence, or flawlessness

Strive for the best results, keeping in mind that the incremental effort for perfection is often more profitably exerted on other tasks

Having to meet demands for marginally useful information or reports

Work to bring some measure of sanity to the proliferation of less than essential information “required” in my organization

Taking the time to engage in negative thought and worry that get me down and dampen my enthusiasm

Note that Winston Churchill once said, “When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.”

Being in discussions that ramble or stray off track

Refuse to contribute to conversations not going anywhere. Jump into droning monologues on the speaker’s topic, get loud to gain control, then look at my watch while saying, “I can’t believe the time! I need to let you go.”

Using the hunt-and-peck method to punch out the letters on my keyboard

Take a course in speed typing

Sending or receiving messages that have to be questioned or corrected

Register your entire team for an interpersonal communication course that trains you how to better match the impact you achieve with the intent you start with

Using an inefficient communication channel

Send face-to-face or telephone messages when they are either quicker or more reliably accurate alternatives to email

Leading or attending poorly run meetings

See “How can I run better meetings?”

Having to contend with problem performers

Hire people who fit our culture, lead them effectively, and address performance issues


Enough Said:  “Lost, yesterday, somewhere between Sunrise and Sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.”  ~Horace Mann


Next Week:  Now that you know how to reduce the worst time robbers, you’re primed for positive ideas on how to spend the coin of time wisely. Get ready for, “Am I strategic with my time?”

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>