It is way too easy to let the day get away from you simply because you are unfocused. When this happens, it may not be detrimental to your business and its viability. But if you find that you’re wasting time daily and can’t stay focused, you will begin to lose motivation because you’re not seeing to-dos getting checked off. If your business is suffering you may not even place the blame on being unfocused, but it could very well be the case. So, what can you do to stop wasting time and stay focused?
Do you find yourself staring out the window or scrolling through social media and tell yourself, “I’m just going to look on social media for five minutes” then discover that it’s been a half an hour or an hour or longer? It’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to lose focus and when this happens regularly you need to determine the underlying cause. If you were formerly focused and stuck to tasks and didn’t waste time, what is happening now that you’re not focused?
For many entrepreneurs the reason for losing focus and wasting time is procrastination, pure and simple. If you want to manage your time effectively and be more efficient and productive you need to get to the root cause of your lack of focus.
Let’s first look at four habits that waste your time and that are insidious to productivity.
- The internet and social media. If you’re researching an item for your business, it is easy to go down a rabbit hole, and it’s also easy to get off track from your original research topic. If you don’t have the willpower to stay off the internet or from constantly checking email or responding to social media pings. Turn off the apps that distract you and reward yourself with social media or email time once the task(s) at hand has been completed.
- Keep your work housed on one device. When you switch between your work desktop and your home laptop and check your email on your phone and not your computer and then pull out your tablet to scroll social media you are pulling your focus into too many directions. Every time you move from one device to another you are more likely to get distracted.
- Have a schedule and use a calendar. If you write down your tasks and have a specific schedule for particular tasks you are more likely to keep your focus and not waste time. Set a timer while you’re working on a particular task and don’t let yourself stop until the timer goes off. Avoid the distraction of setting the timer on your phone unless you use a voice command to do so. Once you open your phone and get to the timer setting, you’re more likely to get pulled into email and social media notifications. For information on time blocking your calendar for maximum effectiveness, check out an article I wrote by going to https://bit.ly/Time_Blocking.
- Prioritize your tasks and give them specific deadlines. If you know you need to complete something by a set date or time, you’re more likely to stick to it than if you had a vague deadline of “finish by the end of the week.”
Now that you have a road map to find those detours that get you off track and help you lose your focus, let’s look at four ways to implement procedures to keep you from wasting time.
- Create a to-do or a form in your daily planner or your online calendar for those tasks you need to do each day. On this form you will write down the tasks you need to complete daily, weekly, monthly. Now write down the hours you plan to work that day. After you’ve done that, assign an allotted time to the tasks you’ve written down. When you do this, you can see what needs to be done, how long it will take, and if you have enough hours in the day/week to complete them. In addition to assigning time to complete the task, make note of the actual time it took you. Sometimes, we over-estimate how long it will take us to do something and if we’ve allotted an hour to a task and it only takes thirty minutes, we may be tempted to waste that “free time” rather than jump into another task. To download a Free Sample Prioritized Action List (PAL) that everyone in your office can use, go to https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/pal-sample/.
- Give yourself time at the top of the hour to gauge your success on the task you’re working on. Only take a minute or two to gauge the completion of the task, then jump back into it. If you’re making great strides, make note of that on your calendar. To download my complimentary Time Log Sample Exercise and help you be even more time efficient, so you are in a higher probability position to achieve your goals, go to: https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/time-log/.
- When the time you’d allotted for the particular task is up, evaluate the progress you’ve made. After you’ve done that, you can more effectively assign time to that task in the future. If it’s a repeatable task, carry it forward on your calendar and make note of how long it truly took – you may find a task you’ve allotted the hour for that only took you thirty minutes frees up enough time at the end of the week that you can either complete more projects or reward yourself with an early quit time!
- Don’t forget to account for that time over which you have no control. If you have set meeting times with staff, prospects, or your clients, you have no control over those, other than to set an end time and stick to it. These non-negotiables need to be written in your calendar and accounted for. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have an entire eight hours to devote to work because three of those hours are already spoken for.
This may sound counterintuitive, but you need to build flexibility into your day and your schedule. If your calendar is so rigidly planned out, you will have no space for the unexpected and let’s face it – an entrepreneur’s business life has the unexpected pop up regularly. Have time blocks that say, “unexpected time”. If you don’t need it, move on to the next high payoff activity.
How much time do you think you waste each day? Do you get sucked into doing emails, surfing the internet, watching cool YouTube videos, or reading jokes someone sent you, getting interrupted by staff, clients, or friends, associates, etc.? Think about this for a minute – how much time do you think you waste each day? Remember it all adds up. Five minutes here, 10 minutes, there 30 minutes on something fun yet not productive.
When I asked people how much time do they think they waste in a day, many of them said approx. 2 hours per day. So, we will use this as our example. You can easily do the math for yourself depending on the number you came up with for how much time you think you waste each day.
Here’s an example of someone who said they ‘waste’ 2 hours per day.
2 hours per day
= 10 hours per week
= 1 week per month
= 12 weeks per year
Divide by 4 and you get a whopping 3 months per year that is spent in non-productive time.
Now, let’s not dwell on the non-productive time that we waste. Let’s see what that time is worth to us in revenue per year if we utilize those 2 hours per day on high pay-off activities.
What do you make per month on an average? $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, $15,000
Multiply that number by 3 (months wasted if you said 2 hours per day) and that is how much more money you could make a year if you just focused your time more on high pay-off activities.
$5,000 x 3 = $15,000 more per year
$7,000 x 3 = $21,000
$10,000 x 3 = $30,000
$15,000 x 3 = $45,000
Even if you start by being more effective and not letting time wasters and distractions get in your way for 30 minutes per day, you will make even more money and have the option to take more time to do what you want to do.
Ask yourself and answer truthfully – do you waste time? What are your major time wasters? How long do you spend on those time wasters? Are there specific times of the day or week in which you find yourself losing focus? If you find your energy flagging at the end of the day, make accommodations for that, and complete your most challenging tasks at the beginning or middle of the day when you’re operating at your peak.
Recognizing that you’re wasting time or losing focus is the first step in implementing a plan to address it.
Get my free audio training, Focus on Your High Pay-off Activities and Achieve Your Goals Using Effective Time Management by going to https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/landing/.
To download my complimentary Time Log Exercise and help you be even more time efficient, so you are in a higher probability position to achieve your goals, go to: https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/time-log/. Simple instructions come with the sample document to help you know how to complete the time log.
To download your complimentary meeting agenda and action item worksheet template, go to https://bit.ly/MeetingAgendaActionsTemplate.
For more help with being even more productive and focused, so you can have your ideal business and ideal life, reach out to me today and schedule your complimentary consultation.
Do you feel like your business has plateaued or you are sick and tired of being sick and tired? Could you use a shot in the arm to make even more progress on your professional and personal goals? Consider working with The Accountability Coach. I’m here to help you accelerate your results, so you can enjoy your ideal business and ideal life!
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