How Google Robbed Me of My Saturday

Time Management GoogleOK folks, we need to have a discussion about what I call the “time management rabbit hole” AKA Google. You know what I’m talking about. It starts off innocently enough, asking one simple question to find a seemingly simple answer. Then, pretty soon it’s 4 hours later, you have 23 tabs open with more articles and opinions than you could ever hope to read in a lifetime…and you still don’t have an answer.

If you’re thinking “Wow, it’s like Emily knows my life,” you’re right, I do, because that was my Saturday and I think I figured out what I did wrong…

Lost in the Reviews

We’re thinking about buying a new refrigerator. Naturally, I want to get a good price on a quality appliance, so I thought I’d just nose around on a few sites to see what people are saying about different brands. This quickly became my entire day.

“This fridge leaks,” says one person.

“This one broke after 3 months,” says another.

“This appliance is seriously the most amazing thing I’ve ever owned in my life,” says someone else.

…all talking about the same model fridge.

Too Much Information

As I poured over all the reviews, discount appliance sites, and home improvement stores, I was under the illusion that I was getting “smarter” about refrigerators, but at the end of the afternoon I realized that while I knew more information, I wasn’t necessarily coming any closer to making a decision.

I’ve talked at length about how social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc… can turn into serious Time Killers if we’re not careful, but information overload can be a huge waste of time as well. We live in a world where endless information is available at the click of a button, and we’re trained to believe that that’s a good thing, but here’s what I realized today:

My Lesson

Good information is helpful. Excess or unreliable information is a waste of time. The next time you catch yourself falling down the time management rabbit hole of information, stop and ask yourself, “Is what I’m reading helping me make an informed decision? Or do I have all the information I need and simply need to step back and choose something.”

Hopefully you can save yourself a Saturday afternoon!

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Are You Wasting People’s Time By Mistake?

Time Management KarmaWe’re always looking for ways to do things faster, be more organized, and focus on our work while tuning out distractions. Have you thought about whether or not you’re helping other people achieve those goals too? It’s  a good idea to follow the golden rule of time management: treat other people’s time the way you’d like your time to be treated. Are you wasting people’s time unintentionally? Use these four tips to create good “time management karma.”

1. Google it

Do your homework before asking a question/favor. If the internet can easily answer it for you, try that first! Then, if you still can’t find the answer or need more information, you can at least come to the table with some background research. People are far more willing to help when you’ve already tried to find the answer on your own. (If you’ve never played with the site “Let Me Google That For You“, feel free to do so now)

2. Follow through when you delegate

If you delegate a task to someone, follow up and thank the person for his or her time. Too often, I see people delegate, and then just do it themselves without letting the other person know. Or, the task is  busy work and not truly necessary. Be respectful of other people’s time and only ask for things when needed.

3. Be realistic with promises

It’s hard to tell people “no,” especially when you really want to help and don’t want to let them down, but this only worsens the problem. If you do not have the time to help, say so now, while the person still has time to seek help elsewhere, rather than committing to a promise you can’t keep.

4. If you are late, apologize

Life happens. Even with the best of planning, you’re still bound to be late to a meeting once in a while and keep someone waiting. The best thing to do in this situation is to sincerely apologize and then take steps to not let it happen again. People just want an acknowledgement that their time is important to you. Say something like, “I’m terribly sorry to keep you waiting, I didn’t mean to keep you from other things you have to do today. The whole freeway was closed due to an accident. Let’s get on with business shall we?”

Emergencies and unexpected deadlines come up, but if you take steps to be considerate with other people’s time, you’ll find that they are also considerate of yours.

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