No More Wasting Time – Even If You’re A Total Dosser

July 23, 2010

If you could capture time in a bottle, it would outsell Chanel No.5. But until some smart ass comes up with a way to do it, what you do with your time is down to you. And it’s a whole lot easier if you force yourself to justify every minute spent, then there’s no more wasting time.

If you work 70 hours a week, you might wonder who the hell I am to accuse you of being a time waster. But I’ve been there myself and I bet you don’t work half as hard as you think you do.

The truth is, if you can’t bring yourself to track every second you spend working, you’re probably frittering time away. And while that doesn’t make you a complete dosser, you may be losing several hours a week.

I’ve wasted more time than I care to remember. But it didn’t even seem like I was wasting time – it felt like bloody hard work. And when it comes to time management, I still have my weaknesses, but I’m working on them.

If I didn’t discipline myself, I would struggle to get things done. And I won’t pretend it’s easy to begin with but once you kick yourself up the butt and get on with it, taking control of your time becomes a habit.

A Few Tips I’ve Found Useful To Stop Wasting Time

1. Always use a “To Do list” and prioritize your tasks in order of importance. You should never allow yourself to move onto a less important task, until you’ve completed the priority jobs. I use a word document to do this but if you’re a tech geek, you can use a free online service like Toggl.

2. Time how long it takes you to do each task. Then when you’ve completed it, write down any problems or interruptions that slowed you down. This will help you identify areas where you’re seriously piddling your time away.

3. If you constantly put off certain types of task, be honest with yourself and try to work out why. There’s always a reason and if you can figure out what it is, it will be easier to find a way to motivate yourself.

4. Get up early and try to get yourself into a proper sleep pattern. If your working hours become irregular, you’ll waste a lot of time.

5. Make sure you have everything you need in front of you, before you begin a task. That way, you don’t waste time trying to find things and you’re not tempted to put the task off because you don’t have all the resources you need.

6. Be realistic about how much work you can do in a day. If you struggle to complete your “To Do” list, you’ll become overwhelmed and may be tempted to stop using it altogether.

7. If you usually multi-task, knock it on the head. I used to think it was a great way to get things done, but in reality, it gets you into a muddle and you wind up with a pile of half finished projects.

8. Don’t let yourself get side-tracked. It’s all too easy to take a quick break to check your email, or see which Twits are on Twitter. And before you realise it, you’ve frittered away an hour.

9. If you use Gmail, make time to set up filters. I was becoming so overwhelmed by junk email, I couldn’t bear to look at my inbox. Now, if I get stuff that I don’t want to receive, I set a filter to automatically delete email from that address.

10. Break large projects down into manageable chunks and set a deadline for completion of the whole task.

11. Be honest with yourself about which jobs are important. Does a particular task need to be done right now, or did you add it to your list to avoid doing more important things?

12. Get into the habit of keeping nothing on your desk but the things you need for one task. Then when you’ve completed it, put those things away.

13. Work towards being able to delegate some of your work, or outsource some of the things that don’t need to be done by you. And don’t flatter yourself – most things can be done by someone else.

14. If you have staff, once you’ve managed to get a grip of your own time management, teach them how to do it and make sure they know it’s part of their job. That way, there will be no more wasting time in your business.

Related Reading

Social Networking: Rethinking Productivity
Time Management For Muppets
Stop F…ing About: Time Management Tips For Internet Startups
What Happened To All The Time Saving?

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