Time Robbers… Who/what is stealing your time and what can you do about it?. Time Robbers. Time robbers steal valuable time away from us. Some of these time robbers are imposed upon us by others. These types of time robbers can fall anywhere between total control to no control.
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Time robbers steal valuable time away from us. Some of these time robbers are imposed upon us by others. These types of time robbers can fall anywhere between total control to no control.
Other time robbers are self-inflicted. In other words, we rob ourselves of valuable time. As such most of these time robbers are within our total control.
Let’s begin by looking at those time robbers imposed upon us by others.
Unnecessary: Drop-ins or phone calls from individuals mistakenly assuming that you have information they need.
Necessary: Interruptions from individuals about those things which you have responsibility for.
Untimely: Necessary but at an inconvenient time.
Unnecessary: Avoid or terminate immediately (in a pleasant manner, of course!)
Necessary: Respond to the interruption: How can I help you? What can I do for you? In other words, try to get the individual to get directly to the point to save both of you time.
Untimely: Reschedule for another time.Interruptions
Simply put, this is the time spent waiting for someone else to respond to our questions or requests.
Call person who you are waiting to hear from and stress the importance of the response.
If no response…take the issue to the next level for a response.Waiting for Answers
Over 11 million meetings are held each day in America. Many are too long or unnecessary.
If you are running the meeting, create an agenda and stay focused.
If you question your need to be at a meeting, check to see how essential your attendance is.
Remember…some meetings are necessary, so make the most of the ones you attend!Unnecessary Meetings
Overload – you’ve got too much going on at once! Many are too long or unnecessary.
The solution for this is simple…learn to say “NO.” Remember, you can’t do everything. Rather than committing to many things and giving them a 50% effort, decide which things you have time for and give them a 100% of your time and energy.Too Much Work
Computers, printers, cell phones, palm pilots…the list goes on. The more technology we have the greater our chances for the occasional “glitch.”
Preventative maintenance can be very helpful when it comes to all of the equipment we use. If you notice the slightest problem…deal with it before it escalates to something greater.
Many “glitches” are the result of a lack of planning on our part. Keep extra printer cartridges and other equipment supplies on hand to save time and avoid unnecessary stress.Equipment Failure
“Red tape” is all of the policies, procedures, systems, etc. that we must go through to accomplish certain tasks.
Accept that red tape exists. Don’t waste time worrying about those things that are out of your control.
Plan ahead! Be sure to make time to deal with all of the systems and procedures.Red Tape
Many Resident Directors like to have an open door policy…which is great! However keep in mind that this level of availability will lead to an increased level of requests and demands.
Plan your day properly so you’ll know what you will and will not have time for. Be honest with residents and staff. If your day is really hectic and their request can be taken care of tomorrow, let them know that you’ll take care of it the next day. Don’t promise something you can’t deliver.
Crisis situation? Determine what you can eliminate from your schedule to effectively handle the crisis.Staff and Resident Demands
You are an organized individual. Your supervisor is not very organized at all. The result: STRESS! You may also get stressed when working with staff members and co-workers who are less than organized.
Communication is the key. Make sure that your supervisor knows what you are doing and that you understand what he/she expects. Ask questions if the information provided by your supervisor is not thorough enough to meet your needs.Disorganized Supervisor
Those things that we inflict upon ourselves also rob us of valuable time.
Procrastination is the most common time robber – putting things off until later. Why do we do this? Some tasks are unpleasant or require us to leave our “comfort zone.” As such we avoid them thus delaying their completion.
Don’t invite interruptions
Break things down into small tasks
Set deadlines for yourself
Don’t let perfectionism get in the way
Do the unpleasant part of the task first
Reward yourself when you’ve completed the “unpleasant task”Procrastination
Where did I put my keys? What did I do with my cell phone? I know I put that report somewhere on my desk. The more disorganized we are, the more time it will take to accomplish tasks.
Put things that matter in some sort of order that makes sense to you.
Stick with your organizational plan. Even when you may be in a rush, the extra minute or two it takes to put something in the right place will save you a lot of time in the long run.Personal Disorganization
Have you ever uttered the following, “Oh, I’ll remember that,” only to find out a few hours or days later that your memory wasn’t as great as you thought it might be? Forgetfulnesscan result in lost time.
Don’t rely on your memory. Write things down so that you will remember them.
Develop a system for following-up on all of the reminders you write down each day.Absentmindedness
When you live and work in a residence hall, socializing with others is a given. As an RD, you need to invest a certain amount of time socializing with your staff and residents. Not all socializing is bad – but too much is unproductive.
Monitor how much time you spend socializing. If you find yourself running late or getting a late start on work projects, tasks, etc. because you’re socializing too much, you need to develop a plan to limit your socializing. Stick to your plan to avoid being robbed of valuable, productive time.Socializing
You’re tired. You don’t have a lot of energy. It’s hard to be productive when you’re exhausted.
Schedule time for physical activity. Exercise will give you the energy boost you may need. Avoid the urge to remove time scheduled for exercise to accommodate others’ needs.
Try to get enough sleep.Fatigue
You know what you need to do, yet you seem to have a hard time accomplishing things. A lack of self-discipline not only prevents us from getting things done, but it is not good for our self-esteem.
Start small – try to break large tasks into small steps so they don’t look so overwhelming.
Set tasks and work to accomplish them. Take things one at a time.
Recognize how good it feels to get something done!Lack of Self-Discipline
RDs tend to deal with lots and lots of paperwork. Handling paper too many times is time consuming.
When you receive paperwork, mail, etc. place it into one of three stacks: (1) VIP –Very Important Paperwork (2) Important (3) Trivial
Deal with VIP paperwork first. If time permits, take care of the Important paperwork next. Trivial items should take little to none of your time.Paper Shuffling
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Handling paper too many times is time consuming.
Trying to pull things together without any plan or direction is time consuming.
Plan and prioritize your time and tasks.
The extra time you commit to planning each week will save you time in the long run.Poor Planning
“ Handling paper too many times is time consuming. These copies are not centered…I’ll have to do them over.”
“The ‘e’ on this poster doesn’t look right. I’ll have to re-do the poster.”
Sound familiar? Perfectionism is said to be “paralyzing” at times as it can slow down or even put a stop to productivity.
Do the job/task to the best of your ability and move on.
Don’t dwell on minor imperfections. Chances are great that you may be the only one who notices them.Perfectionism
This information provided as part of a self directed training class for Hall Directors offered as part of The Residence Hall Manager Service on www.reslife.net.
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