Time management and self discipline have always been challenging at best and are the top skills that people struggle with the most. Inconsistency to plan, schedule, manage and control your time can sabotage your work day, affect your self esteem, your productivity and results on so many levels.
Psychology Today defines time management as:
“. . .the ability to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day to effectively accomplish your goals.”
Pretty simple right?
Our modern technology and online activities roll 24/7 and don’t really stop unless we stop them. They just keep coming, if we let them.
The skills involved in managing time effectively include:
- Setting goals
- Monitoring (where your time actually goes)
Honestly, how well are you doing with this?
It’s best to refine and improve these skills daily, no matter how good you think you are at it. I’ve always worked the best with time management systems in place and I’ve learned to take “tech and social media fasts” on certain days and even blocks of days and hours.
I turn it all off, turn it down and mute it. I have permanently put my phone on vibrate. All those emails, posts, noise and activity will be there when I come back. Many people I know are shutting down on weekends and evenings – it works.
But there are so many more things today that can sabotage your work day, if you let them.
10 Things That Can Sabotage Your Work Day
1) Poor Time Management
What kind of time management systems do you have and are really working?
Daytimer, Google and Yahoo calendar, smart phone alerts or reminders all have great options that work in tandem. I still use the effective paper and virtual “to do list” and yellow sticky notes.
Find a system that works for you – that you will work – and implement it. Respect it and trust it.
2) Lack of Preparation
Preparing your mindset, information and research for meetings, appointments and follow up is simply smart use of your time. It keeps you on point and focused.
3) Technology Distractions
Ringers, loud conversations, text and message alerts, people not paying attention to where they are going because they are multi tasking while walking or driving, multiple computers, big screen TV’s – you get the picture.
Who can get anything done under those conditions?
4) Being Undisciplined With Time Blocking
Making the most of the time you have with people is precious, because we are all time starved. Know what your goals are, create an agenda for all your calls, meetings and meet ups.
But by all means – leave room for the random.
5) Too Many Browsers Open
This reminds me of being in Times Square in NYC. Way too many things going on at the same time that are stimulating and compete for and grab our attention away from things we are supposed to be working on.
Close browser tabs that are not pertinent to what you are working on at the moment and they will be less of a lure.
6) Keeping Your Cell Phone Ringer On
The sounds of our everyday life sadly include way too many ringtones and alerts, but they are here to stay. Turn them to vibrate, mute or off during certain times.
I can’t believe that announcements have to be made about “please turn your cell phone on vibrate or off?” How ironic.
7) Not Qualifying People Who Contact You
Just because someone calls you or emails you doesn’t mean you should or need to contact them back.
Case in point, I got on a PR database and started getting mass press releases daily from agency’s and people on topics I didn’t care about. More importantly, that I didn’t know. I spent a fair amount of time researching to find the company and then contacted them to be removed – and was removed.
8) Spending Too Much Social Media Time Doing Unproductive Things
I don’t know of too many people who use social media daily for business or even fun that don’t have this issue.
Allocate a certain amount of time to your posting, surfing and engagement – and stick to it.
9) Allowing Family, Friends or Co-Workers to Interrupt
Truthfully, unless something is an emergency or essential during work time and hours, people should respect each other’s time.
Set boundaries for texts, chit chat and idle talk interruptions. Or allow them before or after work and during breaks or lunch.
10) Not Expecting the Unexpected
Things happen all the time that are unexpected. It’s best to resolve and solve issues as they are unfolding. Focus on and know what important things need to be addressed first to stabilize your environment or situation.
Consistent time management and organizational skills, especially with email and social media, is an acquired skill. They take awareness, discipline and commitment and are clearly your best keys to less stress, more productivity and better results.
If we don’t control who and what we allow to occupy our time, the tasks will not get done and the goals will never be achieved.
Start today to improve your distractions with a few changes. Turn some things off, minimize how much stimulation you can handle at a time and mute whatever noise you can while you are working. Prioritize things according to immediate importance or need.
You can do it. It works and it helps – a lot.
Technology Overwhelm Photo via Shutterstock