Time management is crucial to getting more value out of your projects and improving the quality of your life. To improve your use of time, you must be brutally honest in analyzing your time usage. Interruptions at any time — especially during the “golden hours,” before deadlines are met — should be limited. Determine your most important times of the day when interruptions are frowned upon, then consider the following:

Small talk and chitchats can be quickly and politely ended by explaining, “That sounds interesting, could we talk later? I’m in the middle of…”

Work-related questions and requests during critical times should be limited by asking yourself these questions:
o    Does this require my guidance?
o    Can another team member handle this?
o    Do I need to do this now, and if not, when is the best time to accomplish this?

Establish a time and system to take messages from team members, vendors, and clients so as not to be interrupted during your golden hours.

Do not waste others’ time. Are you the initiator of the interruptions? It is important to enjoy yourself at work, but let’s focus on accomplishing work tasks, not delaying them. You must pick your times carefully.

How Interruptions Affect Us

Many team leaders find they spend too much time seeking solutions to a problem, when someone else on the team is better suited for the task. Interruptions take time away from planned projects, and diverting oneself from the project, takes more time to refocus. This often leads to mistakes, which adds time to the project in redoing the work. It’s like reading the same sentence again after an interruption. It’s like reading the same sentence again after an interruption. In addition, interrupting a project to assist with something that should be scheduled at later time, slows the process, and is a time waster. Consider this: take the number of interruptions, multiplied by the time lost per interruption, for the total time wasted. For example, if you have five team members on a project, times a 12-minute interruption per member, you’ve lost a whole hour!

I’ve divided the time wasters segment into two more posts, with procrastination being next, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to it!