Top 7 Time Wasters and How to Eliminate Them
Top 7 Time Wasters and How to Eliminate ThemThe E-Mail Time WasterAre you constantly checking e-mail? Do you go to your e-mail in-box before or instead of your high-priority projects? Does receiving and replying to e-mail occupy your thoughts all day long? Schedule e-mail free periods of the day. as your "hour of power" when you mentally prepare for the day and prioritize - before you let checking e-mail eat up your morning.Do people waltz into your office unannounced? Do they "hang out" and talk about things that aren't related to work? To ensure focused concentration, block out time when nobody is allowed to interrupt you. Close the office door. Put up a sign that says, "Focus time. Come back in an hour" or, "With a client." If you have an assistant, he or she can also guard your office door to limit interruptions.The "I'm Distracted" Time WasterAre you easily distracted by your surroundings? Does the noisy bustle of your office take you off track? You need to buffer yourself from things that catch your attention. If there's a loud meeting going on next to your office, close your door. If you work in a cube and the computer clicking and beeping is getting to you, try playing relaxing music on a headset. Have enough background noise or "white noise" to keep your mind focused.The Must-Pick-Up-the-Phone Time WasterYou're working intensely on a year-end report due in two hours, when your phone rings. Out of habit, you grab it. You immediately want to hang up and explain that you're not available, but it's an important client. An hour later, you try to pick back up on the report, feeling your heart rate race. If you can't control the urge to answer the phone, turn it off during highly focused work times.The "I'd Rather Be Doing Something Else" Time WasterLet's face it. Work isn't always fun. Your mind is creative, so you may find yourself getting distracted. But you have to perform, to get key things done, or your job or business will be in jeopardy. Do you daydream to avoid doing what's in front of you? Does surfing the Internet suddenly seem like the most interesting thing to do at work? Wasting time by doing non-important and non-urgent tasks, such as jumping to a website to order digital photo prints, will set you back on projects and extend your work days. If you find yourself diving into things other than work, limit them to five minutes. Then get back to your top projects.The Self-Interruption Time WasterYour office door is shut. You're focusing intently on writing your company's e-newsletter, when, "Ding!" a text message arrives on your cell phone. You pick it up immediately and respond, at length, about what you'll bring to your friend's house for dinner Friday night. By the time you finish exchanging text messages, you've forgotten that great quote you came up with for the article. Block out all those things that lead you to interrupt yourself. Unless it's used for business purposes, turn off your cell phone.Not saying "No" to assignments you have no business taking on in the first place leads to wasting your time. Sure, it's great to lend a hand when you can, but not at the expense of your key projects. If a project suffers because you took on coordinating the office holiday party, your boss isn't going to understand. It's your job to prioritize.