Defining time-wasters can help streamline your daily routine. And in this age where many people and things vie for your attention, it is imperative to do so if you want to protect your productivity at work.
As a leader or an employee, you need to take active steps. You have to embrace discipline on your best and worst days. Use the following pieces of advice to cultivate a path toward greater productivity:
Drive your day
Without a plan or an outline, it’s far easier to go on a free ride throughout the day. This is all right if you have no responsibilities. But given that you are working in or leading an organization, there are many things that can go awry if you let your day drive you instead of the other way around. So write down a to-do list and prioritize.
Commit to a strategy
If time management was easy to perfect, there would be no industry built on self-help books on the topic alone. But do not be too hard on yourself. Committing to a productivity-enhancing practice can, well, take time. Meaning, it takes hours and effort to develop it into a routine. You can try the Pomodoro Technique, in which you will work on a task for 25 minutes and then take a break, to make things more fun.
Trace the root of that delaying tactic
Understand the value of the task, its impact on your day if left unfinished. Delaying the completion of an activity can be traced to several factors. For instance, you may be feeling anxious about meeting a deadline. Or you may be physically down because of PMS. The usual mental excuse goes “I’ll be able to work on this once I feel better.” While these are legitimate emotions and conditions, they don’t have to hinder your productivity. What if you tweak that inner monologue to “If I complete this task despite feeling icky and all, I will not have to deal with it later”?
Remember that multitasking is a myth
Even with modern technology’s assistance, the hype around multitasking is still an illusion. NPR reports that we humans are good at shifting our focus from one task to another at an astonishing speed. But in actuality, typing an email while talking on the phone are two things we cannot do simultaneously. Attention switching is still involved here. And when applied to functions, say, at work, multitasking can prolong the time spent on each item.
Set closed door hours on colleagues
People-induced distractions cannot be avoided. However, if your coworkers are randomly coming to your table to chitchat or ask about something, it can be a sign that you have put your time at their mercy. You should limit the time for such distractions by confronting them or signaling to them that there’s a window of time to disturb you.
Outsmart spam and scam callers
The IRS reports that scams have collectively cost nearly 4,550 victims more than $23 million. As technological tools become more accessible to most people, swindlers take advantage of new tricks such as caller ID spoofing. For businesses, specifically the customer care department, spam and scam calls take away the time that should be spent on answering legitimate customer queries and complaints. Owners and managers can also fall prey to fraudsters who will bully and threaten them into parting with their cash.
There are solutions that can help stop robocalls before they waste your time. You can ID those unknown digits that pop up on your smartphone by name, phone type, carrier, and even relatives and associates. Your secretary or care specialist can also check out if the number is tagged “Safe” or “Spam/Fraud”.
Use social media apps to your advantage
Whenever you login on Facebook, make sure you use your browsing time to look for leads on books to read, people to connect with, publishers to follow, and brands to partner with. Shouldn’t you spend your time not thinking about anything? Sure, you can do that as well. But we all know the app can take 50 minutes off your day. Think about the things you’d rather do other than letting your mind drown in a multimedia stream.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
(Featured image via DepositPhotos.)
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