The interconnected world we live in allows for plenty of distractions. We have distractions by coworkers (or if you work from home, spouses, pets and children). The worst usually involve our own vices such as browsing the latest sports scores, pulling pulled into social media, or seeing which band is going to be playing at our favorite music venue.
Some of these distractions are welcome, and should be. However, too often, they can become a nuisance that interferes with our productivity. Use our following tips for time management to try and stay focused.
Determine Your Most Productive Working Time
We all experience ebbs and flows in productivity. For instance, if you are a morning person, you may find that taking care of the most important tasks in the morning is your most optimal time. If that's the case, use the afternoon and evening for other more automatic or monotonous tasks. You may need to track what you are doing for several days or weeks to see when these optimum times are occurring and their frequency. There are helpful tools that can help do the tracking for you while you're on your laptop or in a browser.
Create a Plan on What Success Means to You
Throwing together a bunch of tasks is as useful as having no tasks defined. In other words, neither are very useful. Work with your co-workers or even just brainstorm to determine what kinds of tasks or goals will be needed for you to increase your productivity. Your boss or manager will have his or her department’s objectives in mind which can be used to determine how you can contribute to those. If you're an owner, or self-employed, doing this consistently can help you make adjustments for the tasks that are not working out or where you need extra help. What should you be outsourcing? Is it bookkeeping and accounting? Is it social media management? Is it other administrative tasks? Write down the business tasks that would increase your productivity if you weren't working on them.
Allow Yourself a Break
Having a well-defined plan is an ideal way to increase your productivity, but don’t beat yourself up if you happen to have a few days that are not as productive as others. Sometimes, the tasks are going to slip up and you are going to be more distracted than others. It’s normal and you should account for some down time to recharge yourself. No one is expecting you to be a productivity robot. It's often the times we take a break to unplug and be present with our friends and families that we have our biggest breakthroughs.
Time management is a skill and needs to be learned and applied. It takes some adjusting in the beginning but is really just a matter of changing how you structure your work and the tasks to complete your work. This requires a consistent commitment to making it work. Set routines for yourself. Identify your most productive times, and aim to work on the most important tasks when you know you can give your full attention to them. Using project management tools or even something as simple as scheduling your tasks in Google calendar, will help you be accountable.
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