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Stop Wasting Your Time!

May 4th, 2007 by rosie · No Comments

The average working person works eight hours per day, but does not get eight hours worth of work done- thanks to many pesky time-wasters. This is also true for entrepreneurs who work at home. There are some simple changes you can make to help you be more productive and work more efficiently. By maximizing your time, you will find that you can do just as much work or more in less time, and have more time for the other important things in your life!

First, you need to recognize your particular time wasters. Do you aimlessly surf through cyberspace? Make too many trips to the fridge to get a snack? Catch “just a few minutes” of t.v. (after all, isn’t daytime television so compelling)? Sit at your desk wondering what to do next? Recognizing the problem is the first step in finding a solution. Whatever your time guzzlers are, you can eliminate them and get more work done.

Start by tracking how you spend your time for a few days. Then analyze the data and identify problems areas. Most time-wasters (whether it’s spending too much time gazing into the fridge looking for a snack or so-called “legitimate” web surfing) are the result of a few bad habits that cause you to lose valuable time and productivity.

The most common time-wasters and ways to avoid them:

1. No Plan. Few people actually plan out their daily,weekly, and monthly activities. But by making a realistic to-do list, you will be able to prioritize your tasks and allot time to complete each task. Utilize the various business planners and technology, such as PDAs and software, to help you see what needs to be done and then do it within a scheduled time. This way, you won’t spend your days wondering what to do next and accomplishing less than you should.

2. No Schedule. Many home-based entrepreneurs have a haphazard approach to when things get done; they start the day whenever and have no method or time-table for finishing tasks. To be more productive, set a workable schedule for your daily, weekly, and monthly activities. Schedule in time for breaks, snacks, taking and returning phone calls, e-mailing, etc. By using a schedule, you will avoid one of the most common time-wasters and won’t be left scrambling around trying to finishing an important task, wondering where your time went.

3. Disorganization. How many of us spend countless minutes looking for necessary paperwork, phone numbers, or e-mails? The more organized you are, the more efficient you will be. Have a place for everything and put everything in it’s place. Don’t leave work-related things scattered all around the house. Don’t throw all work-related papers in one large indiscernible pile. Invest in products and a system to help keep your office organized and save yourself the unnecessary stress and wasted time that comes from being disorganized.

4. Too Many Distractions. Working from home can be very challenging, especially when it comes to distractions. There are personal phone calls, family and friends who don’t understand that you are working, and a myriad of other little things that distract you from your work. That’s why it’s important to have a separate and private work area where you can work without distractions. Don’t take phone calls all day long: set up your voice-mail and then return calls and/or have a set time when you make and receive business calls. Make sure family and friends understand that you are, in fact, working and are not accessible. Don’t spend all day checking and replying to e-mails or surfing the web. Limit access to yourself and you will have more undisturbed time to accomplish tasks. This is key to successful time-management.

5. Lack of Focus. Multi-tasking and over-loaded schedules give the appearance of productivity, but they can actually be detrimental. Focus on the task at hand and you will finish faster (an do a better job) than if you are juggling a handful of jobs at the same time. S-L-O-W down to get more done.

6. Getting Caught Up in Busy Work. At some point, depending on your business and how you manage it, you may find yourself struggling to complete endless small tasks and unable to spend as much time doing the more important, bigger tasks, such as growing your business. While this may be a good sign that your business is growing, you will soon become frustrated and bogged down with all the small jobs that can eat up hours of your time. This is when you know it’s time to hire some help, even if it’s only part-time or on an occasional basis. Find someone who can do all those small tasks (like filing, handling the mail, taking messages, etc.) while you spend your time in more productive, prudent pursuits. Just make sure it’s financially feasible to have some assistance and do this only when you have dealt with the other 5 time wasters. You don’t need a helper so you can continue to waste your own valuable time!

Effective time-management is vital to any successful venture. Maximizing your most valuable resource, time, can increase your business’ productivity, profits, and organization, while helping you also find more time for yourself and for those people who are most important to you.

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    Tags: DIY Life · Leadership · Running a Business

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