Patience is not one of my virtues. Just ask anyone in my family. I can get frustrated quickly, and my anxiety definitely kicks in when something comes up that is unexpected AND a time suck.
Needless to say, I hate wasting time. Over the years I’ve developed some strategies for cutting back on those time sucks; some of these are newer than others, and I wish I had figured them out sooner.
- Use a scheduling system. I use Acuity Scheduling (I’m an affiliate) and it has changed my life. I used to fret over when I would schedule phone calls or meetings with someone, and now I can send someone a link to make the appointment themselves. I have 3 types of meetings set up: a quick 15 minute phone call, a 30 minute meeting, and an hour long meeting. I can block off time, set regular hours, or customize everything. One of the best uses for this is that if someone emails me or calls me wanting to “pick my brain” but I am pretty certain it’s a ploy to sell me something, I can have my assistant send them a link to the 15 minute call.
- Set a hard deadline for everything. Deadlines are motivating, even if they can be terrifying. Hold yourself accountable by telling someone else about your deadline, and/or setting reminders (IFTTT is good for that).
- Block distractors. I’m much better than I used to be about getting distracted by social media, but sometimes Facebook can still be a huge draw. In addition to using website-blocking extensions, you can use the News Feed Eradicator. I can still log in to Facebook (which is sometimes legitimately business-related, if I have to check on ads, etc.) but the news feed is empty.
- Track and plan time. I’m still using my simple time management tool for this. And let me tell you, I get A LOT done because I am honest with myself about how long things actually take.
- Take GOOD breaks. This means not surfing the web, but MOVING your body, resting your mind, etc. I practice yoga almost daily, and I absolutely need that break in my day to make sure I’m not a sluggish blob for the rest of the day.
There are some days that are more productive than others, and I guarantee you those are the days that I do all of the five strategies above. The days I slack off are the days I’ve slipped on at least one of these…
What kind of tools or tips do you have for making sure you don’t waste time?