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The Big Hole in Your Day
By Dr. Don Wetmore, President, The Productivity Institute

We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. And the thing about time is that it can only be spent, it cannot be saved. And there are only two ways to spend time, spend it wisely, or, well, not so wisely.

We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. And if you multiply that out, that gives us a total of 168 hours per week. And the thing about time is that it can only be spent, it cannot be saved. (Did you ever have any time left over on Sunday night that you could lop on over to the following week?)

And there are only two ways to spend time, spend it wisely, or, well, not so wisely. The average person is working in excess of 40 hours per week and I have found that most people lose about 3 hours per day or 15 hours per week in a Black Hole that sucks away and consumes better than a third of the quantity of time we have available to be productive in our work.

The Hole? Needless interruptions. Now an interruption is nothing more than an "unanticipated event". (That's what makes it an interruption.) They come to us in two ways, either in-person or via the telephone. (Telephone would include all the electronic devices such as fax, email, beepers, pagers, etc.)

Like everything we encounter, interruptions are both good and bad. A lot of what you and I do on a daily basis is to address the "good" interruptions, those that are "crucial" and "important". Indeed, a lot of what we are paid for is to handle those "good" interruptions. Those are not the concern.

What takes away from achieving higher levels of productivity are the "bad" interruptions, those that have "little" or "no" value".

Examples of "good" interruptions are when a client or customer calls you to place an order, your boss stops by to inform you that you will be getting the raise, or a co-worker interrupts you at your desk to show you how to complete a project in less time. These are all interruptions but they will lead to enhanced results. They are "good", so very good.

Examples of "bad" interruptions are when a co-worker drops by to complain about the price of hay in Denmark (assuming that you are not in that business) or some irrelevant, uninteresting topic or a telephone solicitor reaches you at work to try to sell you something you do not need or want.

Here are some interesting statistics. (Your actual mileage may vary, but if you need something to compare yourself to


Don Wetmore, a college professor and an attorney, is president of The Productivity Institute, ( www.balancetime.com ) and has been in the field of Time Management / Personal Productivity for over twenty years. Reach Don Wetmore by email at: ctsem@msn.com

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