Beat the Time Bandits
We all have time bandits at work and at home. These are the people and things
that block us from reaching our goals and getting through our daily To-Do lists.
The usual suspects are in our lineup:
The Low-To-No-Control Gang harbors time bandits that are outside our span of
control, unless we make profound changes to the world we live and work in. At
work, these miscreants might include inefficient and redundant procedures,
unclear priorities, too many low-priority tasks, outdated and slow equipment,
too much paperwork and red tape, too many special projects, and so on.
What can we do when cornered by members of the Low-To-No-Control Gang?
We can learn, look for alternatives and shortcuts, and deal with them as
effectively and efficiently as possible. At work, our senior leaders should
constantly work to reduce or eliminate the time bandits that are out of our
control. Our job is to adapt to things we can't control, and remove the time
bandits that are directly and indirectly in our control.
The Direct-Control Gang exists inside our own hearts and heads. We have direct
control over our own behavior, and we can be as big a time bandit to ourselves
as anyone or anything else, although it might be harder for some of us to admit.
Some of the gang members include procrastination, low assertiveness, low self-
discipline, low motivation, poor listening, disorganization, trying to do too
much, doing unimportant things, doing things wrong the first time, and so on.
The Indirect-Control Gang is made up of all the people in our lives: coworkers,
bosses, friends, family, acquaintances, passersby. People are born to steal our
day, just like puppies are born to chew up our favorite shoes. But whose fault is it?
It's our fault, in both cases. We shouldn't leave our shoes out because we know
how puppies are. We can blame the puppy, yell at the puppy, chase the puppy
around with a rolled up newspaper, but it's ultimately our fault. And if other
people chew up our day, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Here is our Top 5 list for how to fend off the time bandits in the Indirect-Control Gang:
1. Don't be a bandit yourself
Just as you don't want others to "bandit" you, you should always be aware of
your own 'bandit' potential. If you are true to your own self-leadership goals,
this will come naturally, because you will be committed to not wasting your time
or anyone else's.