Wasting time can be a massive problem for entrepreneurs and the self-employed. Even the most diligent and hard working business owners fritter away their time by procrastinating between one small task and the next, all the while avoiding a large and difficult job that requires immediate attention.
If you think you might be a time waster when it comes to getting the most out of your working day, read these tips to help you get back on track:
Identify Where Time Flies
Before you do anything else, you need to perform some sort of audit to measure how much time you’re wasting on menial tasks that could either be delegated, or simply put off until after your main tasks are completed. Apps like “Rescue Time” track your activity and report the time you’re spending on each and every website, activity, and even program.
Once you’ve identified the main culprits of your time drain, you can move on to addressing the problem:
Let’s be honest here: There’s no such thing as multitasking. Does that sound hard to believe? It’s been comprehensively studied and researched, and it turns out that only 2% of the population can effectively multitask.
A much better way to get things done is to use the “Pomodoro Method”. This is a system where you break up your list of jobs into 45 minute chunks, each with a 10-15 minute break in between. By giving laser-like focus and attention to just a single task at once, and by imposing a time limit, you’ll plough through a much higher volume of work than a multitasker, and you’ll often produce higher quality results.
Turn off the Smartphone
Everyone loves their smartphone, and everyone loves to stay hyper-connected throughout the working day. The problem is that your focus is regularly broken by constant vibrating alerts and pinging sounds from your phone. There’s really no need to check LinkedIn and Facebook every 30 minutes. Put the phone on silent and keep it away from your desk.
Filter Your Email
Email is one of the largest time drains in existence. There’s good evidence to show that office workers spend at least ten minutes replying to every email, and another 15 minutes attempting to get back into the rhythm of work.
The simple solution is a mixture of time constraints and filtering: Set up strict filters for important colleagues and clients and banish newsletter junk and non urgent website enquiries. www.michaelpursey.co.uk, an internet businessman agrees, adding a further tip: “Commit to only checking your email at certain times of the day. A good starting point would be 10:00, 13:00, and finally 16:00. You’ll quickly realise that email is rarely as urgent as you’ve been led to believe.”
Block Your Favourite Sites
How many times have you stopped working to check a blog or catch up on Facebook notifications? Willpower isn’t enough to kill your time wasting. Consider installing a browser extension to block certain websites until after a certain point in the day. There are plenty out there: “StayFocused”, “SelfControl” and “SelfRestrint” to name but a few.
Time wasting is a serious problem for the business owner. Implement each of these steps as soon as possible and reclaim your working day!
About the Author
Harry Price is a writer and personal trainer. He prioritises charity work and always gives back to his local community. He has family in many different countries, so travelling is one of his past times.
Photo credit: S. Yume