Don’t Waste Your Time – Manage It!

Provided by the International Finance Corporation

Having trouble focusing on what needs to be done today? Too many tasks but too little time for them? Often arriving late at your appointments? Feeling exhausted at the end of the day?

Start by dealing with 4 common time stealers with the following tips.

Saying Yes to Everything

  • Stop and think.
  • Audit your time and priorities (using online calendars and enclosed planner templates)
  • Delegate.
  • Decline. “A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble,” said Mahatma Gandhi.

Procrastination (Delaying)

  • Minimize distractions in your environment.
  • Prioritize your tasks (using enclosed planner templates)
  • Start. The rest will follow.
  • Project yourself mentally having completed the task.
  • Use online calendars to keep track of deadlines.
  • Identify time when you are most productive.
  • Sleep sufficiently, at regular hours.
  • Do relaxing activities.
  • Reward yourself when tasks are completed.


  • Assess quickly: Is this work or a time-stealer?
  • Block a time each day for short tasks and answering email. Inform colleagues nicely that you are busy and will contact them as soon as you finish. Screen calls. When finished make sure to contact them.
  • Be firm.
  • Inform others of your plans.
  • Turn off notifications to email, texts, and social media on your computer and phone.
  • Set an out-of-office message on your email sending automatic replies stating when you are available to answer email or meet.


  • Prepare a meeting agenda and stick to it.
  • Solicit meeting topics ahead of time and allocate time for each topic on the agenda.
  • Send agenda to all attendees at least one day prior to the meeting.
  • Actively lead the meeting through the agenda or assign someone else to.
  • Begin and end on time.
  • Table any topics that are not on the agenda and include them on the next meeting’s agenda.

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