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Are You Guilty Of These Time Wasters?

I recently came across this list of the top time wasters, as compiled by R. Alec Mackenzie after studying the work habit of numerous managers throughout 15 different countries. This list was printed in About Time! (McGraw Hill, 1981) but I suspect that, apart from getting side-tracked on the Internet or spending too long dealing with emails, this list would be much the same if more current research was done.

Here’s the 1981 list of time wasters from R. Alec Mackenzie:

  1. Telephone interruptions
  2. Crisis management/shifting priorities
  3. Lack of objectives, priorities, planning
  4. Drop-in visitors
  5. Ineffective delegation
  6. Attempting too much at once
  7. Meetings
  8. Personal disorganisation, including a cluttered desk
  9. Inability to say no
  10. Lack of self-discipline
  11. Procrastination/indecision
  12. Untrained, inadequate staff
  13. Incomplete, delayed information
  14. Paperwork, red tape, reading
  15. Leaving tasks unfinished
  16. Unclear communication and instructions
  17. Understaffing
  18. Confused responsibility and authority
  19. Socialising

So, taking this list into consideration and then adding your own thoughts, what are your biggest time wasters? Once you know this you can make an effort to overcome each one and discover more productive days.