How to stop wasting time and start getting more done

July 17th, 2014

 Don't be tempted to check every email as soon as it hits your inbox.

So the football world cup has just drawn to a close, and we've seen a lot of kicking about going on over the past month. One thing I'd certainly like to kick, though, is my time-wasting habits.

Whether you're an experienced small business owner or a junior intern, time-wasting is a workplace vice that can be seriously hard to fix. You can start the day well, steaming through your to-do list like there's no tomorrow, until you're distracted by a Facebook chat or your plans for the weekend - and suddenly it's 4.30 pm.

Keeping such distractions and other seemingly innocuous time-wasters at bay is essential to managing your day well and being productive. There are some easy measures you can take, however.

Don't plan to fail

"Fail to plan; plan to fail" - it's one of those horribly cliched leadership mantras but I reckon there's some truth behind it, especially when it comes to organising your day. Basically, if you don't have a plan in place at the start of each day, you're allowing distractions and interruptions to creep in and throw everything into disarray.

Set aside a little time each morning to create a schedule for the day - and make sure you follow it. Knowing what needs to be done now, in one hour from now and by the end of the day means you always have something to focus on.

Master your inbox

One of the worst office habits to have is to keep your inbox popped open at all times on your desktop, switching to it as soon as you get new mail. This is only an unnecessary distraction, breaking up your workflow, and the lost time can really add up over the course of the day.

Set specific times of the day for checking your inbox so you can give it your full attention, without sucking time from your other duties.

Keep track

Wondering why you always finish the day feeling like you could've done a whole lot more? Trying keeping a running record of all your interruptions and distractions each day - that way, you'll be able to see patterns and cut down on time-wasting behaviour.

Wishing you all the best for your week in business.

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