Don’t Let ‘Time Vampires’ Suck Productivity and Focus Out of Your Business
Paul Boucherle explains how to identify ‘time vampires’ and understand and deal with unscheduled, frequent interruptions that disrupt your priorities.
I grew up in the comic book era where superheroes battled supervillains and good would always prevail over evil. In our “real-time” world today evil exists but may be wearing sheep’s clothing.
Introducing the most dangerous, evil and ferocious career nemesis that exists — The Time Vampire! You know, those shape-shifters that rob us of our attention span needed to focus our superpowers on our goals and priorities. They bleed us of just minutes a day — but those minutes add up at the end of the day with unfinished tasks and to-do lists!
Superhero Creator Empowers Us With Important Tool
Who can save our wretched souls? Enter Wonder Woman, a fierce warrior of the working downtrodden, mighty and righteous with a wicked rope to vanquish your Time Vampire villains.
Wonder Woman’s creator was Dr. William Marston. What you probably didn’t know about Marston is that was also a psychologist and invented an early prototype of the lie detector.
Marston’s theory of emotions and behavior led to the development of DiSC assessments, which I’ve written about in this space before and refers to four behavior types: dominance, inducement, submission and compliance.
DiSC is the primary weapon in our consulting toolbox when battling Time Vampires and improving communication, along with wooden stakes and garlic. Wonder Woman can trade her magical lasso for a powerful DiSC weapon!
To do battle with Time Vampires you must first recognize them. These chameleon-like combatants can appear as people, tasks, problems, emails, text messages, your social media monster and smartphones that distract us from accomplishing our business goals and plans on a daily basis.
Wonder Woman’s powerful DiSC assessments can provide X-ray vision to examine your team, boss and peers with a different perspective, allowing or revealing new ways to understand and deal with unscheduled, frequent interruptions that disrupt your priorities.
Where do you start? You begin by taking a DiSC assessment to better understand your strengths and weaknesses that Time Vampires use to their advantage. It’s all about self-awareness and looking in the mirror to get an idea of how you are perceived by those around you.
Learn the Xs & Os of Your Personnel Styles
A “D” style tends to be task oriented. D’s like a fast-paced environment and they are often viewed as being impatient, driven, decisive, even blunt, but D’s get things done. D’s also take conflict head on. They want results and they want them NOW.
If you don’t mind high blood pressure and working 70 hours a week, go for it. Let’s call the score Time Vampires 1, D Style 0.
Maybe you are an “i” style (you’ll find DiSC references to i both upper- and lower-case styles). Do new ideas excite you?
These new ideas may move your thoughts away from a task you were planning to complete. You like people, networking and if they introduce you to some exciting new thing, they become the siren song that can lead you astray.
This could result in the blood getting sucked out of your career credibility. When you have so much on your plate that you can’t finish anything, your peers and your boss could get frustrated. Your desire for social interaction may welcome Time Vampires into your office, which will hamper you making progress on important goals. Once again, the score is Time Vampires 1, i style 0.
The S style wants everyone to get along and feel equally valuable with every team effort. No boat rocking by the S style, and they loathe confrontation. Consequently, the S will have a difficult time saying no to a Time Vampire.
Who wants to see a sulking Time Vampire mope around the office? Certainly not the S. The result can be an entire nest of Time Vampires hanging around the S’s cubicle. Time Vampires 1, S 0.
Lastly, the C style takes pride in detail, accuracy and getting it right. They will take time to look at a situation from all angles and gather all the facts. Time is a relative concept to a C because they will take as much time as they can to keep from being wrong.
There is no welcome mat laid out for Time Vampires by the C. However, they can be blind to the king of the Time Vampires, perfection and certainty — you’ve probably heard of analysis paralysis. If a team is waiting on the input from a C to act, then chalk up another point to the Time Vampire here too.
Now that Wonder Woman has identified the enemies, who will help battle these dreaded Time Vampires. Not a superhero but a supervillain — say yes to Dr. No from the first James Bond movie.
In May’s column we will provide Dr. No’s playbook for slaying your villains and gaining the time to get important things done. You will learn to be able to do this and form your own superpowers!
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