4 Tactics For Protecting Your Time At Work
There are some people who effortlessly power through more than half their list of tasks before lunchtime. And then there are those who have barely scratched the surface of their lists by sundown. The ability to make the most out of our workday does not just rest upon our time management skills but also in our ability to recognise and avoid sneaky time wasters.
These time wasters often start off as little habits that take up a few harmless minutes of our day but if left unchecked, can eventually grow into routines that eat up precious hours without us even noticing. Then we are left at the end of each day wondering where on earth the time has gone.
Here are woman with drive’s four strategies to reclaiming and protecting your time at work.
Also read: 9 Apps That Will Boost Your Productivity
Stop The Go-With-The-Flow Approach
Remember that time you got lost in a foreign country or even in a new suburb? Imagine not having had a map or navigation system to guide you along. Now apply that scenario to the workplace and you will have a pretty good idea what your day will look like when you go with the flow.
Not having a plan or direction for the day’s work will produce one of two results – a series of half-completed jobs or none at all. Either way, you would have lost an entire workday for no good reason.
Stay on track by: Spending five minutes at the end of each day drawing up a roadmap for the next day, consisting of a short list of tasks, a daily schedule and activities in order of importance. When you get in the next morning, review and add further details to that roadmap before you get cracking on the first task. This plan will ensure your success in following through on what matters most.
Shut The Door On Distraction
Who among your coworkers are rarely interrupted at their desks and who have a constant stream of people stopping by for a quick chat? Some people are distraction magnets because they are either procrastinators who welcome interruptions or they do not know how to close their door – literally and figuratively – to disturbances.
Stay on track by: Shutting your office door for two separate hours each day. Spend this time on priority tasks that demand your full attention. If you do not have an office, then sit in a meeting room by yourself during these two hours. Turn off all email notifications and switch your phone to airplane mode so you are not distracted by the notification icons.
Another good strategy for staying focused is to not reply to personal emails or text messages during office hours. This also lets the other person know that you are busy and that your time is valuable.
Leave Your Desk
We all go through an energy slump at some point during the workday. Whether it hits at 11am or 3pm, it leads to a productivity slump and a potential danger zone. When our energy level plummets, we take a break from whatever we are working on for a quick look at emails or social media. Suddenly we have spent an hour watching YouTube videos or browsing a celebrity’s Instagram feed. Our energy level may have spiked again but now we are too involved in the distraction to return to the real work.
Stay on track by: Walking away from your desk. The minute your focus starts wavering, get up and do something else. And leave your phone at your desk to avoid being swiftly pulled into a Whatsapp conversation or social media browsing. The added bonus to leaving your desk is that you get a stretch after long hour of sitting down.
Schedule Separate Times For Strategic And Mundane Tasks
It is easy to mistake productivity with striking off the smaller, mundane tasks off your To Do list first. But that software upgrade or paperwork may take longer than expected and by the time you are ready to tackle the high-value strategic tasks, you could already be halfway through the day or too distracted to concentrate. The result? A heavier To Do list tomorrow.
Stay on track by: Reserving the first four hours of your day to strategic or creative work and the end of the day for “brain dead” tasks. You may work for eight hours a day but your productivity is likely at its highest for only half of it. Get most of the mental heavy lifting out of the way when your mind is at its sharpest so you will not be prone to wasting time during the second half of the day.
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