How often do you get to the end of the day feeling like you have not actually achieved anything, with a to-do list that seems just as long as it was when your day began?!
You’re not alone! Many of us waste time during our working days and weeks by focusing on the wrong things, leading to more stress and overwhelm.
Is it time for you to make a change and become more productive? You can! All you need to do is figure out what it is that’s making you lose time.
From my own experience, and that of my clients, I’ve come up with 10 of the biggest time-wasting culprits. Today I thought I’d share that list with you so that you can take steps towards managing your time more productively!
Many of us use social media for business purposes but (be honest) how many times have you got distracted and gone on an unintentional cat video binge? Before you open Facebook, jot down 3 things that you want to achieve on it – once you’ve completed them, close it down!
Are you a slave to your inbox? Checking your inbox too frequently takes up more time than you would think. Set times to check it and stick to them; you’ll be amazed at how much time this saves! (Check out our previous blog post on how to manage your emails like a VA)
Obsessing over productivity
Researching and using productivity tools is fine, however you can actually end up wasting more time trying to find the right tools than actually making use of them! Set aside a specific time in your diary to look at tools to help you work more efficiently.
Interruptions break your flow; when you are trying to complete important tasks, eliminate all distractions. Turn off phones, shut down emails and social media…Don’t allow people to interrupt you.
How many meetings do you have in your diary this week? How many of them are actually necessary? Before you accept a meeting, consider whether the it aligns with your priorities, and if it doesn’t, decline the invitation, delegate to someone else or keep it as short as possible.
Not using the phone
If you receive an email that requires a response of more than 3 sentences, emailing back and forth will waste your precious time, so why not just pick up the phone?!
Is there a task on your list that you are putting off? The longer you procrastinate, the more time you waste. Try to pinpoint what it is that’s causing your resistance, and come up with a practical solution. Sometimes simply setting a timer and tackling it in chunks can make all the difference!
Reading the news
It’s important to know what’s happening in the world, but browsing news sites is another form of procrastination! You can save this for your breaks.
Instead of trying to do everything on your to-do list simultaneously, prioritise your tasks so that you are able to tackle them in order of importance. This will help you to stop wasting time, as you have a clear plan for each day. Using the Eisenhower matrix is a great way to get started with this!
Taking care of personal business
Booking flights, looking at holidays, online banking, running errands, making personal phone calls, are all important, but can also be a distraction when you’re trying to work on your business. Schedule these tasks in your diary so that you don’t feel tempted to use them to procrastinate.
It can be tricky to pinpoint exactly what is wasting the most time during our work days – the only way to do it is to be brutally honest with ourselves!
Hopefully this list might help you to realise what you can change to make your days more productive and less stressful!