Techniques to Counter Common Time Thieves by Sue Dwan by Sue Dwan - Read Online



The Techniques to Counter Common Time Thieves identifies meetings, telephones, email and interruptions as common organisational time thieves and gives practical advice on how to counter them; offers ideas about the concept of time and how to get the best from it; and includes some general time and self management tips. It is an ideal book for someone new to time management and/or time and self management concepts.

Published: Sue Dwan on


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Techniques to Counter Common Time Thieves - Sue Dwan

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I heard Engelbert Humperdinck singing a pitiful lament the other day – If I only had time, he anguished, Only time. I realised I hear that same lament almost daily, but from ordinary folk – not singing icons. It got me thinking about common time thieves and how they live amongst us, wearing a number of clever disguises.

They’re colleagues who interrupt you when you’re deep into something and say, Could I pick your brains about something?, or, Could you help me with…It’ll only take a minute…, or, I know you’re busy, but....

They’re filing cabinets bursting with ancient and new files that may be unlabelled, and so creatively alphabetised that you can’t find anything for looking. They’re piles of papers on your desk that get bigger and bigger, a repository for the ‘I’ll get around to this, this week’ work, but you never do.

They’re the time spent compulsively checking emails (despite being busy doing something else) when you hear the inbox alert, and the time spent forwarding on jokes, chain mail and amusing video clips. They’re the hours you spend reading all incoming emails, yet put off responding or processing them for another day. And that day may or many not ever come. They’re the emails you deliberately ignore reading because you’re busy doing other things or because you have an inbox with 2000+ emails and you’re overwhelmed at the thought of them all.

They’re the meetings that leave you frustrated and angry that your time has been wasted. They’re the meetings with no agenda, the ones that start late and finish late and where most of the time is spent on minor issues, leaving little time for the big issues that need attention. They’re the meetings where the same topics are ‘put forward to the next meeting’ at every meeting, so they’re never, ever addressed.

They’re the days you know you haven’t achieved anything; despite your efforts to be unavailable to others, your intentions to tackle important tasks and your to-do list. They’re the days when you can’t quite put your finger on why your best laid plans have gone to pieces, yet again. They’re the days you take work home to do after dinner, because you never get everything done during the day.

If any of these scenarios hit the mark for you, it’s timely you are reading this little book. You needn’t sing Humperdinck’s song. There are simple, yet highly effective strategies to use to arrest time thieves in their tracks. It’s up to you really – do you want to be known as a lamentable singer or a person of decisive, smart action that gets results?


Chapter 1: Some Ideas about Time

The interesting thing about time is that it dominates our entire life. The demand for it has absolutely no influence over its supply. There is never 'enough' of it, and what we have is all there is. It can’t be seen or physically touched, it is an abstract concept, yet we know when it’s temporarily unavailable or gone completely. Individuals have their own ‘temporal alignment’ (a time orientation) to either the past, present or future; and they may also view time as ‘linear’ or ‘cyclical’, depending on their cultures and cultural norms.

Time can’t be