Procrastination and time management in the team: Attention Zeitdieb!


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Who does not know that: all the time, everyone wants something from us and steals precious time. This can only prevent those who switch to tunnel vision and radically block uninteresting requests. That can have consequences.


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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Telephone calls without purpose and purpose?

We had it on Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® quite often of how to deal with time-consuming eMails bypasses. On the other hand, which problem actually lies behind it, is rarely spoken. Because the problem is s.Computer is indeed known between backrest and keyboard, so in the head of the person who communicates there. And that does not just apply eMails, but the entire communication.

All I have to do is remember how many times I'm asked to make a phone call as part of my work as a blogger, which usually has no reason for it - except that my counterpart believes it could better persuade me on the phone. Maybe people do not realize what they really want, and they have a hard time expressing their concerns in a concise and concise way.

Communicate radically

Or the case when someone wrote me with Xing regarding a cooperation and outrageous-penetrating again and again asked for a phone call. As it turned out later, said person is broke and pertinent for his intrusiveness. Luckily, I had never agreed to it. And recently, I was bothered by a big German job board, whose staff noticed by frightening ignorance of their field and who in the end wished that I take the time for a detailed feedback - gratuitously, of course.

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Granted, the solution I have for it is comparatively radical. And maybe not for everyone. Because it certainly implies that this procedure will sometimes miss an exciting opportunity or even an important customer. Even if I champion the motto here, that customers who are really interested, come back.

Procrastination - Definition

Rather, I am concerned with forced procrastination by colleagues. Forced procrastination? Thanks to Sascha Lobo, the word procrastination is a technical term that has become established. A few years ago, Lobo published a book with Kathrin Passig with the beautiful title: “Get things regulated - without a spark of self-discipline”.

Procrastination. Entire studies are being written on this phenomenon. From Spiegel Online procrastination was even hyped up as a trend problem. The video above explains very simply how it works. And blogger Julie Paradise once wrote so aptly:

"As long as there is theoretically enough time left, I practically won't start."

Procrastination - enforced in the Team

You could probably still write a few books on the subject, such as “Don't worry - push”, “The day after tomorrow is another day” and “Tidy up the summer house later” - and maybe one or the other can think of many other examples.

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But the fact that problems are postponed is just one side of the medal. As long as procrastination takes place voluntarily, there is nothing wrong with it. I am more concerned here with the postponement of tasks that is enforced in the team. To colleagues as well as bosses who consciously or perhaps unconsciously take advantage of the courtesy and modesty of nice, well-bred colleagues.

People who can be described as perceived superiors. I found this expression in the column of Julia Bönisch in the Süddeutschen Newspaper. He means colleagues who behave like bosses. In a very sarcastic way, Mrs. Bönisch also describes how to cope with this species: by taking her at his word by fully accepting his authority and passing on all the compliments to him.

The social consensus is exploited

Such people embrace an existing social consensus in communication: that of treating one another politely. Because even if you already suspect that the dialogue will actually lead to no result, you do not want to be a monster and people do not immediately abrade: first hear what the other has to say, you think - and then sooner or later, that politeness was a mistake.

Because if the time thieves first have their foot in the door, they will not let up so quickly. From experience, so to speak wise, so I instinctively whimper every request, which is somehow not very clear and clear therefore.

Time management: tunnel vision instead of serendipity

Last year, this defense tactic almost cost me a well-paid job, not to mention the many interesting people I never met in this way - tunnel vision rather than serendipity, so to speak. Also, to name people as time wasters is certainly not the fine English style. And yet, this method seems the only way to deal with the thieves of flesh and blood.

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Now I am self-employed and have the luck to act independently of the anger of a boss and to be able to choose my colleagues and customers quasi. The annoyance of some wannabe customers or cooperation partners, however, is safe for me. But what do workers who in a sense have to deal with such problematic colleagues or even a boss who steals time steal from? For you follow some tips.


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  1. Sahra

    Thanks for the good presentation. It was indeed a pleasure to read that.

  2. David

    Speaking of time management: Why can't the menu on this page sometimes expand?

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