> Telephone Interruptions: Delegating authority and responsibility is an ideal way to control telephone interruptions. Designating specific time slots for socializing and business will help managers effectively reduce telephone interruptions. Implementation of screening procedures also reduces the burden of unwanted telephone intrusions

> Drop-in visitors: Keeping a time-log of visits and implementing a schedule of visits and screening is an effective way to deal with drop-in visitors. Managers can also set open door and quiet hour times so that they are not distracted when some of their tasks demand undivided personal attention.

> Meetings: Setting a clear agenda beforehand will give the meeting the right direction and yield positive results. Choosing the right location and assessing participation, information and coordination needs are also important requirements for organizing a meeting. Brief minutes summarizing assignments, decisions, and deadlines followed by effective follow-up on decisions make meetings purposeful.

> Lack of priorities: Putting first things first helps managers spend relatively more time on important activities. Managers should realize that most problems are caused by actions taken without thinking. Clearly defining goals and priorities and deadlines in the form of a daily planner will help managers use their time effectively.

> Personal Disorganization: Managers must recognize that personal disorganization, uncertainty, procrastination, insecurity, confusion of priorities and inability to meet deadlines are mainly due to lost documents. Cluttered desks, streamlined filing systems and simplified processes will help managers manage time. Through a system of junk mail screening, document reduction, and an emphasis on brevity, managers can overcome their personal disorganization.

> Ineffective delegation: Managers should ensure that clear, unambiguous instructions are given to subordinates. They should emphasize plans, schedules with details, progress reports, time-frame monitoring, and methods and procedures for achieving targets. They should measure results rather than activity and track activity progress to take timely corrective action.

> Trying too hard: Managers need to set their goals, priorities and deadlines every day so they must plan, start early and always remember Murphy's second law. Remember that everything takes more time than you think. They should limit their response to urgent and important demands. They must learn to say no when necessary.

> Implicit communication: Managers must assess legitimate information needs and check for interference, noise, or activity in the flow of information. They should also assess the potential impact of unclear communication, take preventive steps and reduce organizational levels. They should facilitate the easy flow of information throughout the organization if organizational levels are difficult to break down.

> Inadequate, inaccurate, or delayed information: Managers must determine what information is needed for planning, decision-making, and feedback on results. Then they must ensure its availability, reliability and timeliness.

> Indecision/Procrastination: Managers should set deadlines on all goals and priorities, use reminders, have a secretary check progress, reward themselves. They should avoid fixing blame, ask what was learned and how to avoid repetition.

> Confused Authority/Responsibility: Managers must emphasize accountability for results. Recognition and reward for exercise of initiative through citation, performance and pay review, promotion etc.

> Inability to say 'no': Managers must recognize that the inability to say 'no' is a major cause of time wastage. They must understand that saying 'yes' can betray feelings of insecurity and low self-worth, and must resist this urge. They should take the time to record all "yes" responses that could be "no" and evaluate the time wasted. They should learn to say no, especially to inappropriate or thoughtless requests. Dr. McKenzie suggests four steps to saying no, and presents them in a box on the next page for quick reference.

Dr. McKenzie's Four Steps to Saying "No"

> To listen

This lets the person making the request know that you are paying full attention to the request and that you fully understand what is being asked.

> Say "no" politely but firmly

Don't create false hope by giving non-committal answers.

> If appropriate, give reasons

Your reasons may include your priorities, your schedule, etc. This strengthens your credibility.

> If possible, offer alternatives

Demonstrate your goodwill by suggesting other ways to meet the person's needs. Lots of ways to say “no” after hearing a request that you just can't handle

> Dr. Mackenzie offers some:

> I'm sorry, my other commitments won't allow me to take up another project right now.

> You know, on New Year's Day I promised my family that I wouldn't take anything else this year. I have ignored them a lot.

> Thanks for the compliment, but I'm afraid I have to decline. Maybe next year.

> If a request catches you off guard, don't say anything until you first count to ten.

> Leaving tasks uncompleted: Managers must record time and evaluate the impact of leaving tasks uncompleted. They should set deadlines for all important tasks to encourage their completion. They should be organized to have effective control over the work. They should recognize that good organization saves time in retrieving information, processing decisions, and maintaining control over projects.

Lack of self-discipline: When a manager changes his team's priorities, it makes it difficult to practice self-discipline. He should log time to record frequency, assess costs, discuss with colleagues to find ways to reduce problems.