Ask any mompreneur whether we could use more hours in the day, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any of us who would say no. There always seem to be more tasks to do than time to do them.
Whether you realize it or not, your day is full of time-stealers. Checking e-mail one too many times and taking calls from chatty friends are clear time-wasters and ones you can avoid. But what about the other time-wasters that aren’t so obvious and can take minutes, even hours out of your day?
Before you can eliminate these hidden time-wasters, it’s important to identify them.
1. A need to please others
A friend of mine can’t say no, because she’s worried about disappointing her clients, friends, and family. She commits to meetings, deadlines, and tasks that she cancels, misses, and forgets to do. By saying no up front, she would stop wasting others peoples' time, quit disappointing others, and even accomplish a few tasks on her own to-do list.
2. Getting caught up in technology
The beauty of smartphones is that anyone can find you anytime, any place. That’s also the drawback. At the end of the day, it’s important to unplug. When you’re with your family, friends, and clients, make a conscious effort to be in the moment.
I’ve met several people who didn’t realize they were constantly checking their smartphone at stoplights while waiting in line, or while someone else was talking until family and friends pointed it out to them … repeatedly.
3. Focusing on perfection instead of progress
Most of us know or work with a perfectionist who focuses more on doing things right, than doing them at all. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards, yet they need to be realistic. When you keep your eye on the big picture and focus on what you need to do rather than try to do everything perfectly, you’ll be more productive.
4. Leaving tasks to chance
Working from home gives you the freedom to set your own hours. There comes a point, though, when all of this freedom can make it hard to accomplish anything. Get in the habit of setting some type of schedule — make it flexible — to make sure you have the time to finish the tasks that need your attention and the ones that have firm deadlines.
5. Consider working in blocks of time
Work on certain projects during one block of time, handle social media during another and take breaks between the different blocks of time.
The key to accomplishing more and making every minute count is figuring out the time-wasters that are keeping you from being productive. Then you can find ways to avoid them and take back your time.
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Lisa Kanarek is the author of five books including, Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life and Home Office Solutions. She is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a firm that advises corporations and individuals on all aspects of working from home including home office set up, function and productivity, and is the founder of the blog WorkingNaked.com.
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