One of the principles of lean management is value stream mapping. It is used to analyze and design the flow of information and materials to create a product until it reaches the customer. In it are the steps, delays and information required to deliver the product. Delays cause losses and time is one major element. In our actual work and day to day activities, there are many reasons that prevent us from achieving our goals or good product or service. We are not aware of it, but the most lost is time. Here are some of the time-wasters that I have identified and will try to avoid in order for me to be more efficient:
1. Emails - set up your email with keywords that will automatically go to folders that you can read later on. Important emails can also be determined or flagged. Organizing the email is an important factor in prioritizing the actions and in achieving your goals.
2. Phone calls - view the caller ID first before answering the phone, if it's really important, they will leave a message. You can review them later on.
3. Meetings - although I know I cannot avoid this, if my presence in the meeting is only as support and not the head then I can bring my laptop and do some 'work'. It is also called multitasking.
4. People - I know I may sound anti-social here, but unnecessary talking to people in the hallways, in the lunch room and after meetings and not during break is a time-waster. There is a time for everything and it is not considered productive time when longer breaks and gossiping are happening.
Keep control of your day by breaking it into three kinds of blocks:
Strategic Blocks - uninterrupted work time
Buffer Blocks - unplanned or lower-value tasks, time to read important emails and make phone calls.
Breakout Blocks - free time to refresh and unload stress, use this time to read emails of low priority
Be focused. Don't get distracted.