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December 19, 2003 7:37 AM CST

Time Management Facts and Figures


During the last twenty years, after making over 2,000 presentations around the world, I have gathered some interesting facts and figures about time management and personal productivity for your use and enjoyment.

- 80% of "crisis management" events are preventable.

- One hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.

- Good time managers do not allocate their time to those who "demand" it, but rather to those who "deserve" it.

- The most powerful word in our time management vocabulary is "no."

- Delegation is an unlimited method to multiply time for achieving results.

- The hardest part about delegation is simply letting go. "If you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself."

- On an average day, there are 17 million meetings in America.

- Nine out of 10 people daydream in meetings.

- 60% of meeting attendees take notes to appear as if they are listening.

- When someone is asking for our time for a meeting, 80% of the time there is an alternate date and time that will be acceptable.

- The average person gets one interruption every eight minutes, or approximately seven an hour, or 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes five minutes, totaling about four hours, or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically rated as "little value" or "no value" creating approximately three hours of wasted time per day.

- 20% of the average workday is spent on "crucial" and "important" things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have "little value" or "no value."

- In the last 20 years, working time has increased by 15% and leisure time has decreased by 33%.

- A person who works with a "messy" or cluttered desk spends, on average, 1-1/2 hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things, or approximately 7-1/2 hours per workweek. "Out of sight; out of mind." When it's in sight, it's in mind.

- The average worker sends and receives 190 messages per day.

- The average person today receives more information on a daily basis, than the average person received in a lifetime in 1900.

- 70% of business and professional people use a "to do" list on a regular basis to administer their "have to's."

- It almost always takes twice as long to complete a task as what we originally thought it would take.

- "A project tends to expand with the time allocated for it." If you give yourself one thing to do, it will take all day. If you give yourself two things to do, you get them both done. If you give yourself a dozen things to do, you may not get 12 done, but you'll get seven or eight completed.

- "If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person."

- The "20/80 Rule" tells us we will typically accomplish 80% of our results through 20% of our effort. The other 20% of additional results comes from about 80% of additional effort.

- By taking one hour per day for independent study, seven hours per week, 365 hours in a year, one can learn at the rate of a full-time student. In three to five years, the average person can become an expert in the topic of their choice, by spending only one hour per day.

- The average American watches 28 hours of television per week.

- 95% of the books in this country are purchased by 5% of the population.

- The average reading speed is approximately 200 words per minute. The average working person reads two hours per day. A speed reading course that will improve the reading rate to 400 words per minute will save an hour per day.

- We retain 10% of what we read. We retain 20% of what we hear. We retain 30% of what we see. We retain 50% of what we hear and see. We retain 70% of what we say. We retain 90% of what we do.

- Taking five minutes per day, five days per week to improve one's job will create 1,200 little improvements to a job over a five-year period.

In Closing
- "If you always do what you've always done, you always get what you've always got." To change our output, we must change our input.

- Time management is not doing the wrong things quicker. That just gets us nowhere faster. Time management is doing the right things.

About the Author

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore is owner of Productivity Institute - Time Management Seminars, a professional speaker and a member of the National Speakers Association. He can be reached by visiting


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