Are you mistaking busyness with business?
You’re working long hours and feel like you’re studiously plugging away at various tasks, but you don’t seem to be getting ahead. Here’s the clincher though: just because you are physically at your job every day, doesn’t mean you are actually busy doing business.
It may be a problem with your productivity – something that’s not as easy to recognize as you might think.
Here are four culprits that we all fall prey to:
Culprit 1: Email
What is the very first thing you do when you arrive at work? If you’re like the vast majority of us, you open your email. This seems to make sense because you need to know what you’ve missed, if there are updates or new important tasks to be faced. Incredibly, a survey by Adobe found that white-collar workers sometimes spend up to six hours per day on email, both inside and outside work hours.
Make sure you reply to, delete or archive emails on the spot. Also unsubscribe from any newsletters you haven’t read for a while. You can always subscribe again at a later date if need be. And watch that you aren’t wasting others’ email time either; write emails that are concise. You can still be polite and get your point across without writing a novel.
Culprit 2: A never-ending to-do list
The list that just never ends is frustrating. A better option is to map out how you are going to spend your time. Schedule it in, in chunks. You will have a clear image of what needs to be done and if it’s scheduled in, you’ll be more likely to do it instead of just ignoring it on your list. For more information, visit Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, which details this method.
Culprit 3: The best time for YOU
You may have heard that you should take on the most challenging task first thing in the morning. But what is the most difficult task? Is it analytic or is it creative? Play to your strengths and work to a schedule that works best for you. You may be surprised to learn research shows creativity often peaks when we are at our least alert and in our “non-optimal” time cycles.
In saying this, it is true that the best day actually starts the night before. It is hard to be productive and switched on mentally if you’ve only have five hours’ sleep, you’ve had a heavy meal at night, or you feel unprepared and rushed in the morning. Get yourself sorted by laying out everything you need for the next day, write yourself a list of tasks that need to be done to get them off your mind, and sleep as well as you can.
Culprit 4: Software
Technology is moving in leaps and bounds and it’s sometimes thought the “old-school” way of doing things is best. Although this might be true for some, is it for you? Do you really need to be keeping handwritten records, or is there an automated system you can use instead to save you time and energy? It may be ten minutes here and there but those small chunks add up to significant time savings over the course of a month.
At Reep, we believe in simplicity and working with our clients to help them get the most out of their time. Sign up to the Reep free trial today to see how automated financial systems can save you time in your small business every day.