ProdPod: Episode 96: Time Thieves, Time Thugs, and Time Terrorists – Who They Are So You Can Identify Them Efficiently

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In a nutshell: Time thieves, time thugs, and time terrorists are lurking around personal and work corners. Identifying them is key to protecting and taking back your time. Here’s how to know when you’re dealing with one of this time-wasting personas.


Using your time productively means not only managing your time but also protecting it from others who may not have your most productive interests in mind. You may know who I mean generally, when I speak of categories of people I call time thieves, thugs, and terrorists. They’re not the only ones, but they are the majority categories I see in work and personal interactions. Let me explain to you the specific differences between the three so you can identify them in a moment’s notice. In the next episode, I’ll cover how to combat these archetypes of time waste so you can be more productive.

N.B.: My goal is usually to keep things positive, so I’m only telling you about these time-draining personas to help your productivity, not so that you go out there name-calling people with these terms as ammunition. If you can identify them, you should also have the courtesy to never express these terms out loud about anyone specifically. I know this from personal experience that it will backfire on you! Please use positive, productive language toward the people with whom you live and work.

Time Thieves

Time thieves are not vicious people on the exterior, like Robin Hood but without the take-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor, social good in mind. They steal from your time to get more of their own. They’re willing to unreasonably delegate as much as possible to your plate and then take the credit for the productive outcomes when a project is completed. They’ll also throw you under the bus in a heartbeat to save themselves.

Time Thugs

Time thugs are those who lack finesse regarding the disruption of your time; it’s blunt force trauma to your calendar and usually doesn’t save anyone time. They’ll come by your office with fires of their own making, generally disorganized, and will make water cooler chat even when you’re visibly immersed in deep thought or process.

Time Terrorists

Time terrorists are out to make a statement by demanding your time for their own. It’s a power struggle (whether conscious or unconscious) and you’re usually unaware of their reasoning. It commandeers your time at inopportune times which diminishes everyone’s overall productivity. As an example, they’ll call a meeting, then reschedule it because of a personal appointment that conflicts, and then when the rescheduled appointment arrives, they’ll show up late and without an agenda.

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