In this day and age of the digital age, we have so many interruptions. I used to personally take pride in my ability to multi-task and even brag about it. Now I know the importance of the power of focus. The power of laser focus! The power of focus is amazing and allows you to succeed at the highest levels in whatever it is you are looking to accomplish. It could be your next project at work, your next book, your relationship, a meeting, and so much more. Here are my tips on time wasters we should all avoid:
- Turn off those alerts on your lock screen. Yes, we are in an era of instant communication and gratification, but would your life really change if you did not find out the news in that moment? Every time we get an alert on our lock screen it interrupts whatever we are doing. We stop. We pick up our phone. We read, then read some more, then turn to what it was that we were doing (if we remember what that was). And now we have to start all over again. Try to sign up for most of those alerts by email as opposed to lock screen alerts or text.
- Constantly Checking Emails. I understand we have to check our work emails all the time. I personally am on almost 24/7, but I often wonder how that impacts my efficiency. Could I or others live if I checked my emails every 30 minutes as opposed to every second? It is a question I still wonder about, to this day. I think we need to slowly test ourselves and see what we feel comfortable with. Going back to my power of focus, emails are a huge interruption when we write or read or listen.
- Holding Meetings with No Agenda or Time Limit. Do you have last-minute meetings? Those are fine, and sometimes understood, but I question the effectiveness. If you do have the luxury of time to prepare for a meeting in advance, always have an agenda and keep a tight timeframe. My meetings generally last 30 minutes max. It is amazing what you can accomplish during those 30 minutes.
- Lack of a plan. This is very simple. Let’s say you got into your car. If you don’t know where you are going, and how you will get to your destination, you will just keep driving in circles, right? It is that simple. Have a plan. Write it down. Power of writing is huge. No one has time for driving around in circles. Map out your goals, your dreams, your project, your objectives, and figure out how you will get there.
- Disorganization. If my office or home is disorganized, it is just too hard for me to stay focused and do what it is that I need to do. I generally take care of that first and then get started on my work. But disorganization also touches your files. If you do not maintain your files and documents in an organized manner, you will forever waste time looking for documents when you could actually be working on what it is that you are doing.
- The power of “no”. The power and the ability to say “no” is profound. Both in our personal and professional lives, we need to learn to say no, when it is not our specialty, when we do not have time for it, when we are focused on something else, and don’t want any distractions. Your friends, your colleagues, and your loved ones will understand where you are coming from if they know you well enough. Do not feel guilty for saying no.
- Indecisiveness and Overthinking. Decisions save time. Decisions allow you to make a choice and move on to the next thing or put you on a path for execution. Do not be indecisive and overthink it all. Be bold. Make a decision. Take some risks. And move on.
- Streamlining. Do you find yourself redoing the same document or task over and over again, and keep telling yourself there has to be an easier way to do it or that you should create a template for it or some best practices? Well, it is probably time you do what it is that you need to do so you don’t feel like you are reinventing the wheel all day every day.
- Social Media. Try to limit how many times you go on your Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, etc. Especially when you are in the midst of a project. This is certainly a challenge for all of us, but I constantly test myself and see what I can achieve.
- Delegation. How many times have you heard this? Delegate. It will only help you become more efficient as a person and as a professional. At home, delegate certain tasks related to your home. At work, delegate projects that others would love the opportunity to work on. If you own your own business, delegate the day-to-day tasks so you can focus on growing and developing your own business. And, if a topic is not your specialty, yes you can spend time trying to learn the topic, but when that starts taking a long time, hire professionals. Hire experts, and save yourself some serious time.
Think about it. If, in one hour, you check your social media, check your lock screen alerts, say yes to everyone, try to make decisions, and try to do it all yourself, how effective could you really be in that hour? Do you have any tips for me?