A time bandit is a work practice, attitude or behavior that leads to ineffective working practices or your time getting stolen or expropriated away from your core priorities and frittered on less important activities. 4 A free sample CHIP. Copyright O CHIP 2005 All rights reserved; no part of this excerpt may restricted copying in the united Kingdom issued by the Copyright Licensing Epicures and the pleasure principle Think about your own time management bandits and traps, do you see any patterns? One common pattern is to put the fun, exciting, interesting, easy things first, and put off doing the boring, dull, difficult tasks until later. It is a kind of pleasure principle – going for the short-term gains, surrendering to wants and desires as they arise – immediately.
Epicures, the philosopher who is attributed with setting up the foundations for a pleasure principle, believed in following desires. However, he is often mistakenly thought to have been a slave to avarice and pleasure, indulging himself in whatever desire arose at a given moment. This is not actually true. Epicures followed a simple life, one of leathery food, friendship and good company, freedom and thought, not an undisciplined response to every whim and fancy. In relation to your own work or study, following the Epicurean principle will lead you to doing things you enjoy instead of focusing on your priorities.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
It is a mistake to think that taking the easy route will improve things in the long run. In reality, giving in to the pleasure principle in the short term results in a mess later on, because over time what happens is the accumulation of a whole mountain of tasks that have been ignored. This can lead to misery, anxiety and depression. A lot of Hough and planning went into Epicure’s way of life, and creating time for a balanced, enjoyable life takes planning and clandestine. The last-minute rush and adrenaline junky Some people like to live fast and furiously, and so working in a calm systematic way can seem very boring.
Waiting for a burst of energy, or the adrenaline rush that comes with the fear of a deadline looming can become a way of life, but does usually mean that when the job actually gets done, it is done in a haphazard panicky way, leaving the person exhausted after late- night working and long hours in order to finish it on time. In the long run lath can be affected, as the fight or flight impulse that triggers adrenaline is intended for moments Of danger, not a lifetime Of stress. Hamlet: the procrastinator To be or not to be . ‘should I start this paper or go and deal with those statistics, I don’t know! It isn’t noble to play Hamlet unless you are Lawrence Olivier! If it can’t be faced now, it might be worse later! What is more, as well as getting nothing done, the agony is repeated over and over again, and usually by tomorrow there is no change except the increased anxiety of another day gone by without completing the task. There are different reasons or procrastination and prevarication: not having the energy (which is represented by the adrenaline junky above), not having a starting point or the right information (but will you have the information tomorrow? , or being indecisive over what exactly to get on and do. All that happens is that work piles up. It’s all too much However, for some people, being busy is a way of life. They may ask themselves: -? Where does all my time go? -? Why are there not enough hours in the day? Typically these people then fool themselves with the thought ‘Well, this is just a busy period, once I’ve got this assignment or deadline over then fife will be easier and I can relax’. This is fine if true, but often one deadline out of the way can just open someone up to a new 35 A free sample chapter from Personal Effectiveness by Diana Winsomely.
Published by the CHIP. Copyright C CHIP 2005 All rights reserved; no part of this excerpt may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Publishers or a license permitting Agency. If you would like to purchase this book please visit WV/. Chip. Co. UK,” deadline, as they rush from one hectic task to the next. Sometimes this is self- generated: they can’t help but take on more and more and more.
Another way they fool themselves is to say ‘I’m a no-limit person. I can keep on taking on more and more and more’. No one is superman or superwoman, there are only 1 ,440 minutes in a day, 1,000 when we deduct sleeping, washing, dressing, eating, etc, etc, etc. In our lives we probably spend six months waiting for red traffic lights to change, two years looking for things, 24 years asleep . . There is only so much time left, and time is not infinitely elastic, e do have limits. After all, no one ever said on their deathbed: I wish I’d spent more time at the office!
The headless chicken: action without thought There may be other reasons for taking on too much work, being too busy or feeling driven. Some people may be working hard but without having clear priorities, and without planning. Spending much too much time on things that are not at all important. Giving the illusion of working hard but not working productively. The butterfly: flitting from task to task Helen arrives at work, puts her coat on the door peg, sits down and turns on the computer. She intends to spend the morning writing the proposal for the new performance appraisal system – a very important part of her job.
But first she listens to her telephone messages and realizes Gerald wants her to produce some figures for a meeting the following week. She accesses her computer to pull out the figures, and notices she has 21 e-mails, and begins trawling through these. The first few she just looks at and leaves open to come back to later, the sixth one asks her to give some dates for a meeting and she opens her diary to look at dates, and sees that for one of the dates he has a presentation to give on that day.
Oh she must remember to take the files home for preparing the presentation so she can do it at the weekend. She gets up and opens her filing cabinet to retrieve them Oh dear, she is feeling rather giddy, . . She hasn’t got anything done and she has been at work an hour already .. Oh she feels so confused, she thinks I’d better go and get a coffee . One result of not planning or sticking to priorities can be the ‘butterfly”. This is someone who flits from task to task in a downward spiral of panic and anxiety, getting in a mess, never getting the boost and closure of completion.
Many managers have to be butterflies, for example Integer (1973) and Cotter (1982) showed that managers spend nine minutes or less on 50 per cent of their activities, are subject to constant interruptions and that management is a very fragmented activity. Good time management brings order to this fragmentation, rather than exacerbates it. Interruptions, interruptions There are two types of interruptions: interruptions from others that distract us from our work, and ‘self interruptions, ways in which we distract ourselves from our intended activities. What is your working environment like – quiet ND easy to concentrate in, or noisy and busy?