On average, 89% of Americans admit to wasting time at work, according to a Salary.com survey. 62% of those are wasting 30 minutes to 1 hour of time, with others wasting up to 5 hours of work time. We all have days where our focus is lost and our performance suffers. Hopefully, that is not happening to you on a daily basis. If it is, there are likely a few key distractions that are keeping you from being as productive as you would like to be. Here is a list of 5 big distractions, that if you can keep in check, you will become a time management hero.
Without a Vision, your productivity perishes...
“Without a vision, the people perish.” I use this quote in my Millennials leadership program, “Making Millennials Great”. You probably won’t die from a lack of vision, but your productivity will. If you aim at nothing, that’s exactly what you will hit, nothing. Sadly, people often plan out their vacation more than they do their work and life. When you leave for a vacation, you wouldn’t just show up to the airport and say, take me anywhere. That would be crazy, right? If that is crazy, then why would you show up to work for 40 years that way? You have to have a clear vision of where you are headed before you start. I do two things to get my vision lined up. I write down all of my goals for business and work. I start with the end goal in mind and work backwards on the timeline. I break them down by 6 months, 1 month, 1 week, and even daily tasks with specific activities that build up to the long term goal. We can lose enthusiasm and drive to accomplish tasks if we don’t keep the big picture goal in mind.
Surfs up, on Social Media
As a speaker and trainer on millennial leadership and marketing, I often hear that millennials are “addicted to social media”. They usually continue by saying, “...you know, with their snapchat, twitter and all the selfies they take.” All though that is partially true, it turns out that Gen- Xers are on social even more than millennials. They average 6 hours a day, to millennial’s 5.5 hours. Even Baby Boomers clock in with an average of 4.5 hours a day of social media time. Like most things, a little adds a lot to your life, but a too much will derail a productive day. I set a daily limit for social media consumption. I found a web browser add-on that counts the time I spend on social media sites. When I pass my pre-designed time limit, it block the site. If you are more disciplined, you can just write it down and check your watch, but keep it to a set amount or you could scroll the day away.
Stop the ding ding notification madness
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the typical office worker is interrupted or switches tasks, on average, every three minutes and five seconds. If you are interrupted on a project or in depth report analysis, it is estimated to take up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back in the groove of where you left off. It seems clear why you can have a busy day, but get nothing done. Don’t let the “dings” kill your productive day. Turn off the notifications for all apps, email and ignore the texts. Depending on your job that may not be an option in all areas, but you can quickly train the world to communicate with you in a way that minimizes the interruptions. I learned how to do this from Timothy Ferriss's book the 4 hour work week. It taught me to design a custom auto reply on email and on my voicemail message with exact expectations for response times. This will save you from being at someone else's beck and call of all things great and small.
Don’t be a busy buzzing bee
Are you really busy or just buzzing around from task to task? I usually catch myself doing this when cleaning or answer emails. I buzz back and forth, getting nothing really accomplishment. The problem is that I am treating all things with equal importance, but not all tasks are created equal. The best way for me to calm down and get focused is to take a mental dump… on paper. I get everything I need to do out of my head and on paper. Next, I prioritize it into a few vital tasks that I can get done and will yield the greatest results. A great resources for this is David Allen’s book, “Getting things Done”. It has essential lessons on how to organize your life and free up your mind.
Go to bed without your beloved device!
Hopefully, your loved one is not a flat glowing piece of glass. Although, with the amount of time spent with it each day, it would be hard to argue otherwise. Bed time is the right time for you and your constant companion to part ways. Most people I know have the opposite ritual of this, they always take their phone to bed with them. They scroll through their feed or are playing some addictive game as the last thing they do before passing out. Never sacrifice a restful sleep for screen time. I first learned about the harms of screen time from Shawn Stevenson’s book, "Sleep Smarter". Even if you are going to bed at a reasonable time, your device impairs your sleep. Just the glow of the screen will disrupts your sleep hormone secretion, which means you won’t get as restful of a sleep. On average people are over 20% less productive, motivated, and have decreased memory due to sleep deprivation. If you want to be most effective at your job, you have to go to bed, get your full hours of sleep, and avoid anything with a blue glowing screen before bed.
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