Time waits for no one. Solution? Find a way to use your time and energy on important tasks and eliminate time stealers. We all know the common time wasters. Here are a few less obvious ones and what to do about them.
Just going with the flow: If you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t plan your day in some way that works for you, you might end up doing just the things you enjoy rather than the important things. Think through tasks on any given day and prioritise them. Start with the most difficult tasks when your energy is strongest. For big jobs, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just list it, break it down into specifics so that you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss key steps or overlook something critical. When you have an end result in mind, you are motivated to manage your priorities, time and resources better.
Not managing distractions : You need to know how to minimise distractions effectively if your day is to be productive. For instance, turn your instant messenger off, put your phone on silent when you need to focus, or politely let people know if they are distracting you. Sometimes, the distraction comes from your inability to concentrate because of mental clutter. In that case, you may wish to switch to something less taxing mentally or low-energy work
Putting things off: When you keep putting something off, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s often because you find it difficult, not a priority or plain boring. The more you procrastinate, the more you come to dread the tasks. Eventually, everything piles up, overwhelms you and you end up with a huge backlog. One way round big tasks is not to assume that you need to complete it from start to finish. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s okay to break it into manageable steps, so that you can complete it small portions at a time.
Thriving on “Busyness”: Rolling over deadlines, joining every team, endless emails, running frantically to never ending meetings gradually undermine ability to focus or to make time to think. Bottom line is unless you are supernaturally gifted your “addiction to busyness” will eventually lead to shoddy work in some cases as you juggle to stay on top of a Ã¢â‚¬ËœmillionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ things. Know your productivity and energy thresholds so that you can manage them.
Acting on impulse: This includes responding to every email as soon as it comes in, or doing those things that can drain your energy for example having the difficult conversation when you are at a low ebb, reacting immediately to that not so positive feedback when you are still in a foul mood. You can make best use of your time by scheduling high-value work during your peak time, and routine tasks like returning phone calls, checking email during your “down” time.
Now take action: What can you do to get more out of each day?