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5 Ways to Take Control of Your Day

8/5/2016 (Permalink)

Does it ever feel like there are never enough hours in the day to get things done—no matter how hard you work? If this sounds familiar, you might be suffering from distractinonia.

Okay, it’s a totally made-up disease, but here’s the truth: Being distracted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re spending hours watching cat videos, playing Halo, or Tweeting about lunch. There are many other forces out there that keep you from being productive without you even realizing it. In fact, a lot of them are work-related.

So how do you combat these time-sucks and make the most of your day? The first step is to recognize them. Here’s our list of the top hidden distractions and how to avoid them.

1. Multitasking: We know, we know—multitasking is something that everyone is supposed to be doing these days to save time . . . and there is probably an app out there somewhere for it. But the truth is that few of us are any good at it. Our brains just can’t handle five things at once. In the long run, you end up stressed out, less focused and less productive.

Solution: Start every morning by writing down your goals for the day and prioritizing them. Then stick to your list, focusing on one task at a time. If you get distracted, take care of the issue and go back to your list.

2. Meetings: Getting together to work out project details, hear updates, and communicate priorities is a necessary part of doing business. But meetings can quickly get out of hand or turn into a social outing with nothing accomplished. 

Solution: Set a time limit and create an agenda for your meeting—and stick to both. If an issue isn’t resolved, assign someone to work on it and report back by a certain date, then move on.

3. Socializing: At Dave’s company, we really love the people we work with, so it’s fun to hang out. But like meetings, it can get out of control if you don’t watch it. In fact, according to a study by OfficeTime.net, 16% of those surveyed said they spend between one and two hours a day talking it up with their friends at work.

Solution: If you are naturally super talkative, block out a few minutes on your calendar each day to socialize, and keep to the time limit. If you don’t like to chat it up, do the same. Spending time with your team is an integral part of being a leader.

4. Talky Team Members: On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll have team members who love to chat too, especially with you. Before you know it, the few minutes they asked for to get a quick question answered turns into an hour, and you never actually found out why they needed to meet with you in the first place.

Solution: Schedule a block of time each week when you or your leaders can meet one on one with individual people. If a team member truly needs to speak with you, have them make an appointment. On the flip side, never be so high and mighty you can’t speak to someone on your team in case of an emergency. Even today, Dave will take the time to meet with one of his 550-plus team members if they truly need to talk with him.

5. Emails: With just a few exceptions, there isn’t an email in the world that can’t wait. Even though we like to think it, most of us just aren’t that important. If someone truly needs to reach you, they can call.

Solution: Choose two times during the day to read and reply to emails, and get those times on your calendar. Other than what’s scheduled, turn off your email program so you won’t be tempted. If you have an assistant, put them in charge of your email, forwarding only what you need to see.

Management expert Peter Drucker once said, “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” And we agree. Avoid the above distractions and respect your time. You’ll be amazed how much more you get done and how profitable that can be.

Content provided by: EntreLeadership

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