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Article: Are You Wasting Your Own Time? Related Resources

Are You Wasting Your Own Time?
by Lorraine Pirihi

How often do you let your time get chewed up by others? Now you don't consciously set out to let people waste your time, however without realising it you are probably allowing it to happen.

One of my clients, John, recently hired a new team member. At his previous workplace, Barry had a boss who always had his door open and let the staff wander in. Barry's boss liked to have an 'open door' to show that he was accessible to his team. That sounds very noble but the reality is, that Barry's ex boss would get very little done for himself as he was constantly letting others interrupt him.

Now that Barry has changed jobs, he has automatically been doing exactly the same thing to John, constantly knocking on his door to get his questions answered. Understandably Barry was a new employee and therefore would have lots of questions, however John complained to me that Barry thought he could interrupt at any time, as that's what he had done in his previous position.

At one point John had noted that Barry had knocked on his door 6 times in one hour. That meant John lost his focus and it took him 3 times longer to complete his work. In real terms he realised he was losing 2 hours a day with his time being worth $250 an hour that was $500. Multiply that for 1 week and that's 10 hours a week and $2500 of lost time.

On the other side of the story, the following could have happened...

1. Barry may not have had sufficient training in his new role. 2. John had made a mistake in the hiring process. 3. John expectations were unrealistic. 4. John hadn't communicated effectively on how he would handle staff queries or who in the organisation to speak with if he is unavailable.

As I said to John, it was up to him to train his new employee on how things are done in his business. As the leader he needed to set the rules and enforce them. He also needed to practice what he preached.

It is extremely important to invest time on training new employees. Regardless of whether they have worked in the same role elsewhere, every business has different ways of working. It's also imperative to communicate effectively to your team how you expect 'things to be done around here'. Also make sure you turn the tables and ask them for feedback as well.

When working with my coaching clients, we use an anonymous feedback process called "The Productivity and Leadership Profile". The business owner answers the questionnaire on his own performance and his team anonymously and individually rate the boss on how they see him/her. This is vital if we are to hear the truth. The report in many instances is a real eye opener for the boss. Without true feedback they never know if they are doing a good job or not.

The Final Word

Take stock and look at how you spend your time. You'll be amazed at how much additional time you really have.

Lorraine Pirihi is Australia's Personal Productivity Specialist and Leading Life Coach. Her business The Office Organiser specialises in showing small business owners and managers, how to get organised at work so they can have a life! Lorraine is also a dynamic speaker and has produced many products including "How to Survive and Thrive at Work!"

To subscribe to her free ezine visit

Lorraine Pirihi may be contacted at or


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