Stop Wasting Time! Avoid These 12 Things

Your time management habits need to be improved. I’m not trying to single you out, but seriously, most of us could improve the way we manage our time. Especially leaders. In my long tenure as a leadership coach and trainer, I’ve noted that time management is one of the biggest challenges most leaders face and is one of the easiest to fix.

What I’ve noticed is that the same daily tasks and activities are sucking time away from leaders. See if you can spot the ones that are sucking up your time:

  1. Interruptions: telephone and personal visits.
  2. Meetings: the long, purposeless ones.
  3. Tasks that should be delegated.
  4. Procrastination and indecision.
  5. Acting with incomplete information.
  6. Crisis management: putting out fires started by others.
  7. Unclear communication.
  8. Unclear objectives and priorities.
  9. Lack of planning.
  10. Stress and fatigue.
  11. Inability to say ‘no.’
  12. Desk management and personal disorganization.

Guess what? You are probably both the cause and the solution to your time challenges.

Here are a few strategies to avoid the time stealers listed above:

  • Put your daily plans in writing.
  • Plan your days by listing your activities in order of their priority.
  • Delegate.
  • Make brief notes immediately following a conference, meeting, or important conversation.
  • Keep simple records regarding the routine of your daily life.
  • Schedule quiet time – and use it.
  • Use wait time wisely.
  • Keep your work area free of distractions.
  • Stop “living” in your inbox. Check email at set times and be ruthlessly efficient about deleting junk mail.

To be an efficient leader, you must set up and follow a few time management strategies. Just like anything else, when you get into the habit of using your time wisely it will become easier and easier to instill these habits in the rest of the team.

What are your biggest time wasters? Are they avoidable or do you feel trapped by the inefficiency around you?

Howard Shore is a leadership coach and trainer with expertise in time management, leadership coaching and human capital management. To learn more about AGI’s executive coaching, management consulting, and leadership training, please visit or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.