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How Tracking Your Time Avoids The Time Suck

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Do you ever find yourself regularly becoming engrossed in something that keeps you from doing the important things? Time suckers cause anxiety for every business owner, but the time suckers that are the biggest problem are the ones you aren’t aware of. Innocent activities that you do out of habit can cause a lot of wasted time.

Some time suckers that you may or may not be aware of and how to deal with them:

A Rigid Schedule — While it’s great to have a schedule to follow, you may find that by midday you are behind and wonder where you’ve wasted time. Are you booking back to back appointments without some breathing room? Set yourself up for success and schedule in time to ‘shift gears’. You know that transition time when you’ve completed one task and are about to start another? Give yourself 15 or 20 minutes to wrap things up on one project and to get organized around the next, to catch your breath, stretch, to grab a cup of tea. And make sure you are being realistic about the time it takes to complete a task.

Social Media — While social media is a fabulous way to attract attention to your business it can also be a tremendous time sucker. It’s too easy to get side tracked in reading your family & friends updates and playing games for hours. Separate your work social media from your personal social media and schedule the time you will spend on social media. Use personal social media on personal time.

Email — Today we are so impatient that if someone doesn’t answer our email almost immediately it gives us anxiety. But, the truth is, it would be best to schedule when you will handle email, and if you can, outsource some of this task so you only see important emails. Deal with email the way you do with snail mail. Handle it once, read it, do what is needed, then file it away or delete it.

Mobile Technology — When you’re working, don’t have every email and social media update go directly to your mobile. Do have a way for people to reach you in true emergencies, which you have defined for them, but when you are working, ignore email, ignore your phone. You don’t have to be continuously connected to be successful. In fact, you shouldn’t be.

Non-income TasksLimit non-income generating tasks until after you’ve completed the number of billable hours that you need to meet your financial needs. By focusing most of your time on income producing tasks you’ll find that some of the other things you thought were important, just aren’t.

Family & Friends — A lot of times if you’re a business owner your family and friends seem to not realize how busy you are. A typical assumption is that you can take time off any moment that you want to or when it’s convenient to their schedule. It is important to be direct with both family and friends regarding the amount of time you have during business hours. Simply make a statement that if it’s not an emergency that you’ll have to get back to them and set a time and follow through. Eventually they will learn that your business is important to you and to work around business hours.

Increasing your productivity will feel terrific and while you can’t actually gain extra time in your day, you will feel as if you have accomplished this impossible task by freeing up time you used to waste in which to be more productive.

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