The term “chronophagous” is a compound adjective made of the Greek prefix chrono (i.e. time) and the suffix phágos (i.e. to eat). Consequently, it makes references to a “time-consuming” action. And we all know quite a few time-consuming processes surrounding us. Have you ever got at the end of your work day and realized the following: “Today, I feel I did not do anything at all!”?

In order to manage those time-consuming processes and save more time for your own activities, the first thing you need to do is identify them, and then find a solution to fight each and every one of them.

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time

Let’s try to identify them. Most certainly, you’ll be able to spot them in your own work environment.

  • Emails. It seems that more than a quarter of employees spends at least one hour per day in answering their emails.
  • Phone calls. They are intrusive and make you immediately stop the task you were working on since you feel the need to answer them.
  • Requests from colleagues. One of your colleagues enters the office and interrupts you with a question or request.
  • Requests from your manager. It’s your manager; obviously, his request is urgent and turns your daily planning upside down.
  • Meetings. Meetings tend to drag along while you’re thinking about your delayed work.
  • Administrative chores. You must provide a weekly report on the working hours of your team or a report on invoicing. These tasks may be extremely time-consuming.
  • Preparation of files or presentations. The files that need to be presented before clients or senior management require some extra preparation and also valuable time in having them ready.
  • Travel. More often than not, travelling to meet a client or work partner may be avoided by using adequate technical solutions.
  • Procrastination. Sometimes we are time-consuming for ourselves. Postponing priority tasks or multiplying worthless processes are extremely time-consuming processes that affect our overall efficiency.

In the case of most time-consuming processes, it is possible to improve our condition by better organisation skills, more rigorous rules and the implementation of some basic practical reactions. As far as concerns the practical solutions to fight time-consuming actions, we are about to discover them in the next set of articles.

Reference : Pour en finir avec les tâches chronophages (in French)

This article was written in association with Adriano Labatte.