⏳ The 5 Biggest Wastes of Time in Leadership

The expression "I don't have time" I debunked in the last Friday Noon Memo as a phrase that means nothing more than "this is not important to me" (👉 read here).

Here comes another angle of this fact: you may very well be able to pack a lot more into your time (everyone has 24 hours of it per day) if you finally stop wasting it.

In other words, each of us wastes our time on things that are not top priority.

As a result, we don't get to the really important issues - and then say, "I never have enough time." However, it's just that: The cause lies in our waste of time.

The problem: this waste is mostly promoted by the subconscious, based on our deeply anchored beliefs.

So we waste time because we (our subconscious) think it's good and right. How can you change that?

Here are 5 typical - surprising for many leaders - causes of time wasting that I recommend to stop immediately:

  1. Repeated discussion of decisions.

    I can hardly believe it myself how often I see this kind of time wasting in all kinds of teams, but especially in the executive suite.

    Decisions are made and resolutions are approved, and then ..... nothing! Instead, these very decisions are called into question again at the next opportunity.

    Why is this happening? Well, from my observation, the most common cause is that it is not clear to everyone involved that this was a decision - with all the consequences (especially that we now have to put it into practice).

    💡 My tip: Make it unmistakably clear to each other whether this is a decision, or a resolution. If yes, then there is no new discussion about it. (The only exception: the basic conditions change massively).

  2. No clear priorities.

    "If you don't set priorities for yourself, others will do it for you." And this then almost always leads to "not having enough time".

    If you really want to get things done, then set clear priorities every day, every week, every month! Because otherwise you'll waste your time (and your team's time) on unimportant things.

    💡 My tip: Make it a habit to set clear priorities for the day every morning.

  3. No consequence.

    I also see this phenomenon unbelievably often at management level: promises are not kept, resolutions are not implemented, and so on - and then: nothing happens!

    In many companies, managers have become accustomed to not asking too many questions. They prefer to let the started project disappear into oblivion instead of either canceling it properly or implementing it with clear results.

    Why? For most, being consistent is uncomfortable. We might offend others - and ourselves. The only thing is: in the end, we're not doing anyone any favors, we're wasting our time.

    💡 My tip: Push for clear consistency in all cases and stop the often widespread carelessness.

  4. Making decisions for others.

    Too many managers I know make decisions on ridiculous topics.

    Trips costing € 2,000 are "approved" by the division head with overall responsibility for over a hundred million in sales, the design of business cards is discussed, PowerPoints are optimized to the last detail, and much more.

    The reason is usually that it is very difficult to give up control, especially when others might solve the tasks differently than we do.

    My tip: Let decisions be made where the necessary information is available.

    Of course, this sometimes involves risks. What is the alternative? A waste of time and frustration on the part of others.

  5. No limit on conversation time.

    There is a law that says that available time slots are always filled with activities. If we say that a meeting will last an hour, we will usually fill that hour, even if we have already achieved the goals after 15 minutes.

    The same is true for all other time periods and especially for conversations.

    💡 My tip: Limit conversation times and cut meeting durations in half wherever possible. The effects are usually not only less time wasted, but also better results.

So, here you have five causes of time wasting. If you eliminate these, you'll easily have 20-50 percent more time available to move forward with really important things. The most important thing: You have to really want it.


➡️ Next steps:

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