Welcome to the second installment of our blog miniseries: Time Management Essentials for Busy Professionals. Join us as we review essential tips, techniques, and methods for saving time, increasing productivity, and improving customer service for your business.
In the first installment of our miniseries on time management essentials, you learned about planning ahead for your week to eliminate stress and streamline each day’s tasks, appointments, and activities. In this second installment, we’re going to tackle how to get rid of some of the most common time-wasters that rob you of productivity and keep you from growing your business.
No matter where you work, you have a number of attractive nuisances available to you at any time. While you know you shouldn’t pay attention to them, you can’t seem to help falling into these time-wasting traps several times a day. Let’s discuss a few of the most common and how you can avoid them and get more clients for your business.
Beware social media time-wasters (don’t fall down the Facebook hole!)
If you’re like so many of us, you check Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram several times throughout the day. If you’re waiting in line at the store, you might scroll through your newsfeed or take a peek at the latest pictures your friends have uploaded, and that’s fine.
However, when you find yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed for an hour when you should be taking inventory, ordering supplies, or working on growing your client base, this can be a huge problem.
One solution, of course, is to switch off the wi-fi on your computer while you’re working, but that can be problematic if you have to make orders or book appointments with clients online. Another is to “ban” yourself from Facebook and other social media sites while you’re working, but we like an alternate method even better.
Instead, only sign into your professional accounts on these sites while you’re working. Don’t let yourself click over to your personal account, and this way all of the browsing and scrolling you do will be related to your business. You’ll find yourself losing less time to this, and when you do log in, you’ll be able to take care of your social media marketing tasks for the day, spread the word about your services, and check something off of your to-do list for the day.
Don’t give yourself “five more minutes”
It’s often a good idea to take a break in the middle of the day to give your mind a rest and let yourself relax while you grab a bite to eat before you see more clients, talk to distributors and product representatives, or schedule meetings with your staff. However, it can be tempting – especially if you work from home – to “hit the snooze button” on your lunch break.
If you tell yourself you’re going to take a break for an hour, set a hard end time for that break. If you don’t, it can be easy to say, “I’ll get back to work in five more minutes,” and those five minutes can quickly turn into ten, then fifteen, and twenty. Be aware of this temptation and either set an alarm (without a snooze button!) to signal that it’s time to get back to work.
Make a to-do list and prioritize your tasks
Finally, you’ll often find yourself looking for time-wasters when you have tasks that you’d rather not do. Instead, each morning make a list of all of the tasks you need to do before the end of the day. Some of these tasks are likely to be more enjoyable than others, so put your list in order so that you mix up more enjoyable tasks with the ones you want to put off.
This way you’ll have incentives to get the annoying things on your list done so that you can move on to the more fun ones. And, if all else fails and you want to procrastinate on one of your daily tasks, you can “waste” your time by completing one of the enjoyable things that you need to get done before the end of the day.
Implement these tips into your day and see how much more you can accomplish. Before you know it, you’ll have a great system in place, and you’ll be avoiding those attractive nuisances like a pro.