My family, friends and colleagues know me as a non-violent person, generally speaking. However when it comes to time termites, I morph into a deadly exterminator.
So, what is a time termite? Time termites are activities you do or actions of others that “eat up” your time and destroy the beautiful design of your life. Just like real termites can take down a whole house if left unchecked, time termites may seem small, but they can destroy your life. You must design your life to strongly protect against the situations and people that will run right over you and eat up your life – if you let them.
The reason I get so “violent” is that, in my experience coaching hundreds of business owners and professionals – time termites eat up as much as 25 – 50% of your time. Only a very energetic, intelligent and vigilant approach toward protecting your time will work.
Some of the top time termites, based on my unscientific experience with hundreds of clients, include: wasting time on trivial items, waiting to see the boss or manager, meetings without good agenda and/or facilitation, too many reports to write, problems in locating documents or other needed items, phone & email, complainers and whiners, inability to say “no” – saying “yes” to too many people, and interruptions.
Let’s look at just one of those. I have a client who has people contact him at various times about in-person meetings. He is learning to consider these carefully. While it is definitely important to have “face time” with colleagues to keep his relationships fresh, a lot of the time he can accomplish the task at hand much more expeditiously over the phone.
My client has 40 or so hours each week to run his business, so a 1-1/2 or 2 hour meeting (when you include travel) equals about 5% of that time. If he went to two such meetings per week, that’s 10% of his time! Since he can handle most of them on the phone in a quarter to one-third of that time, you can see this is one time termite he’s squashing in a hurry.
Whether a meeting is in person or on the phone, if you keep it focused and on task, you can take the time you save and use it for quality time with the professional or personal relationships that make the most sense.
There are many other strategies and tactics to exterminating time termites. To stick to my one-minute guideline for Ordinary Brilliance, I can’t go into them all right now. But you are creative and resourceful and have a lot of ways to deal with your time termites. I invite you to pick just one time termite and set your intention to exterminate it in the next 30 days.
Let me know how you do with it and then I’ll be happy to have you as a proud member of the elite Time Termite Exterminators Club.