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  • Writer's pictureMeirav Peleg Landau

How The Five Time Thieves Strangle Innovation

Updated: Jan 3

MPL Innovation

One of the most significant challenges facing managers today is the constant feeling of being "too busy." In a society that venerates productivity as a badge of honor, we often fail to realize that being "busy" doesn't necessarily equate to success. We tend to utter sentences like "I'm so busy" as if they were a mark of distinction.

However, in this modern era, being too busy may indicate a flaw in our personal and professional strategy. It might mean that our strategy is either non-existent or poorly executed.

The Five Time Thieves that Strangle Innovation

The Innovation Killers

In her book "Making Work Visible," Dominica DeGrandis identifies five insidious time thieves that can creep into our lives and sabotage innovation:

Too much Work in Progress - This thief represents work that has been initiated but remains unfinished. It's the realm of partially completed tasks that linger and bog down our attention.

Unknown Dependencies - These are the hidden obstacles that we weren't aware of, and they demand our attention before we can complete a task.

Unplanned Work - Picture this as the uninvited guest at the innovation party. Unplanned work swoops in as interruptions, diverting our focus and making it challenging to complete or even start important projects.

Conflicting Priorities - These are the projects and tasks that vie for our attention, creating a juggling act that leaves us uncertain about what should take precedence.

Neglected Work - This thief thrives on partially completed work that sits idle, waiting for someone to pick it up again.

Why These Time Thieves Are Innovation's Nemesis

To innovate, to create something truly transformative, we need the mental space to think, the room for imagination, and a tranquil environment. It's not a luxury; it's a fundamental human need that extends to businesses we lead.

In the corporate world, time is often elusive. The more senior you become, the less control you seem to have over your own time, leaving you with little room for reflection and innovation. Yet, creation and strategy require focus, silence, and lifting ourselves above the constant noise.

Reclaiming your time is not a selfish act; it's a strategic imperative. By defeating these time thieves, you create the breathing room necessary for innovation to flourish.

Remember, innovation doesn't thrive in chaos; it blossoms in the quiet spaces of intention and attention. So, take a moment to pause, reevaluate, and strategize how you can win back your time from these innovation-killing thieves.


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Our mission is to empower our clients by propelling their corporate innovation initiatives to new heights.

With our specialized innovation consulting services, we assist organizations in surpassing their boundaries and unlocking unprecedented growth opportunities.

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