Time is one of the most valuable commodities in our lives and when it comes to business this is absolutely crucial to consider. It's also the thing that is equal for everyone. Even a billionaire only gets 24 hours in a day. It's critical to limit the amount of wasted time to make room for what's most important.
Even when you commit to limiting your wasted time, it's likely that curiosity becomes your downfall:
Do I have a text message?
I wonder if I have any new email. How many visitors have been to my website in the last hour?
The list goes on.
Unfortunately, frequently indulging your curiosity can have adverse effects.
Consider the following when you are looking to simplify your workflow:
1. How much time is it really? A mere 10 minutes of time each day, 5 days a week, is equivalent to a 40-hour workweek each year. An entire week. Can't get your reports done on time? Now you know part of the reason why. Lost time adds up.
2. Loss of momentum. Pulling away from your regular work to check your email costs you more time than just what you use to pull up your email account and read. You still have to get back on track when you're finished with the email.
You may lose your train of thought, lose your place in the memo you were reading, or misplace something. Even worse, you may forget what you were doing in the first place. You know what happens next. You respond to that email or text and then you have to keep checking back to see what their response is. It never ends. What's the answer?
3. Remember that it can wait. Most people can get away with checking their personal email once a day. Texting is the same way, believe it or not. These types of distractions are seldom critical; if someone's message does happen to be critical, they'll find a way to get through to you.
4. Schedule it. Set aside a specific time to check on all of those little distractions. Perhaps you might choose to only deal with email at the end of the workday or only text for 10 minutes before bed.
Whatever you're perpetually curious about, set aside some time each day to address it. To maximize your efficiency, all you have to do is stick to the schedule.
5. Inform people. If everyone knows that you only look at email between 4:45pm and 5:00pm, they'll call you if they need to communicate something really important. If it's not really important, they might not send the email at all. This might even mean less work for you.
Additionally, you'll find that people won't bother you with text messages during the day if they know you're not going to answer them anytime soon. With less stuff to distract you, you'll be able to better focus on your work.
We all have little things we do to waste time. Some of those are curiosity-based and often the most challenging to ignore. Acknowledge the amount of time it costs you each year - time that you can never get back - time that could be more effectively utilized.
Most things can wait. Consider how often you really need to check these distractions and make a schedule for them. By informing the appropriate people of your plan, you can be sure they'll adapt and nothing critical will be missed.
The systems you have in your business are what will save you the most time.
One tool that is working well for us and our client is Trello. This gives you a visual look at what's on your plate each week.
Take back control of your time by trying it out. Here's a link to join if you don't already have an account.
You'll be glad you did!
Simplicity is smart.
I do more with less.
I cut back on my commitments. I shorten my to-do list. I keep only those items that closely align with my goals and priorities.
I consume less. I pause to think before making purchases. I grow and make things instead of buying them. I recycle as much as possible.
I monitor my media consumption. I take a break from news and politics when I am feeling overwhelmed. I search for stories with positive messages about community and generosity.
I act promptly instead of procrastinating. If I am unsure where to begin, I break big projects down into smaller steps. I accomplish more with less stress and wasted time.
I clear away clutter. I give away items I seldom use or store them out of sight. I take notes online and use automatic billing to cut down on paper. Tidying up my home and office helps me to think clearly and increase my productivity.
I focus on one task at a time. I slow down and remember the purpose behind my activities.
I walk and bike more. I leave my car behind as much as possible when commuting to work or running errands.
I enjoy free fun. I find joy in small pleasures. I browse online for outdoor concerts and educational courses. I visit my local library and parks. I read books and play board games.
Today, I celebrate simple living. I am content with what I have.
1. Why do I choose to prioritize systems in my business?
2. What do I want my weekly workflow to look like?
3. How can I avoid unnecessary distractions at work?