Are you one of those people that work really hard, but you never seem to get everything done? The ability to identify those time wasters that get in the way and take control of them is one the most important time management skills.
Below you will find some of the biggest time wasters and some techniques to deal with them.
On-line Time Wasters
The Internet is fantastic, you can go on-line and find anything you want. It is also the number one time thief and will eat up your time if you allow it to and keep you from getting work done. Email, social media, on-line forums and videos, and are the biggest culprits. So how do you cut out these distractions? First of all, take a long hard honest look at what you’re doing. Do you really need to read every email as soon as it hits your in-box? Do you really need to stay logged into your Facebook account just in case there’s an important message?
Once you have identified your on-line time wasters, you need to take control of them. Why not specify time for them in your schedule. For example, set aside just 30 minutes a day for Facebook, split into two 15 minute segments. When your 15 minutes are up, close that tab on your browser to stop it being a temptation.
We have to accept that if we work from home, there will always be interruptions, especially if you have a family. We can’t shut ourselves off from the world entirely. Try to stop interruptions before they happen, tell everyone that you’re ‘at work’ for the next few hours and to only interrupt you if it is an emergency. When you do get interrupted, do not try to fight them, stop what you are doing and deal with them, if you don’t you will still become distracted and you’ll lose focus.
In many jobs there is an abundance of meaningless meetings and if you are not careful they can really drain your time. Make a stand and turn down any meetings for which there is no agenda. If you have to attend, see if you can attend for only the part of the meeting where your input is required. Let the chair know that you can attend but will have to leave at a specific time.Try to be proactive in keeping the meeting on track. The other attendees will appreciate it.
Multitasking IS a Time Waster
Most people believe that multitasking saves you time. The truth is that multitasking is another time-waster, because each task takes longer than it would if you were doing it on its own, and you’re not really giving it the attention it deserves. Avoid multitasking as much as possible, and put all of your focus into dealing with one task at a time.
Loss of Focus and Burnout
Working too much or too many hours is also a time waster. Long hours don’t necessarily mean greater productivity. When your mind and body get tired, you lose focus. When you lose focus, everything takes longer to complete. If you’re not feeling motivated, admit it do something else for a while to avoid getting stressed and burnt out. If you have to burn the midnight oil, make sure you take enough breaks to keep your focus together.
Tracking Your Time
The best way to identify you time wasters is to keep an honest record of how you spend your time. Do it for a week and it will show you exactly where you’re wasting time and it’s almost always a big surprise. You can then decide what strategies you will put in place to deal with them.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor