Eliminate ‘Half-Work’ and Other Time Management Tips

May 18, 2016

6:00 pm

While all of us have just 24-hours a day and need at least 7-8 hours of sleep to stay healthy and stove off stress, some entrepreneurs seem to advance more rapidly with their business. Their secret – efficient time management.  It’s an incredibly vital skill, which is yet commonly overlooked in our culture of “being busy”. Being your own boss means you are the boss of your time as well and here are the essential tips to help you master this skill.

Eliminate the Half-Work

In the age of constant distraction, it’s just too tempting to split our attention between the tasks on our to-do list and what the world around us is bombarding us with in form of social media updates, push notifications, newsletters and chats. Typically, we are balancing the urge to immediately answer an email or a message, and working on our to-do list at the same time.

All of us are guilty of hopping to Twitter when we are a in the middle of writing a report or peeking at a blog post and spending the next 30 minutes mindlessly browsing the web.  Staying prone to time-wasting habits gets challenging these days, so here are a few quick tips to help you out:

Set up airport days.  Turn off your phone, turn off your Internet and stay focus on work for the “duration of your flight” with zero distractors.

Automate the distracting routine. Resisting the urge to stay connected on social media is hard, yet you can reduce the time you spent at the networks by setting up a variety of IFTTT scenarios to post reminders, auto-share updates and do all the other small routines that add up a bunch of your time. Next, make sure all your devices are synced and you don’t waste time on manually updating or re-uploading the data. You can upload iPhone contacts to Gmail in one click and keep them synced afterwards, set up auto-backup to the iCloud for your notes or use Evernote across different devices to have all your data at quick reach.

Try the Pomodoro Technique to help you stay focused on the most important tasks for short periods of time. It is scientifically proven that working in short sprints (up to 90 min at a time) based on our ultradian rhythms helps you squeeze out the max out of your productive time.

Eliminate Face-to-Face Meetings

Being physically present on a meeting is one of the most unnecessary phenomena in the modern business world. Not only it may be stressful for you to squeeze it into your tight schedule, but you also end up wasting more time on chitchat compared to when the whole thing is set up via phone or Skype.

Reduce the amount of personal meetings at your company to a bare minimum. Instead you can, for instance, set Wednesdays as reporting days when each of your team member shares what they have accomplished and what they will be working on next week. This way you foster the culture of accountability without restoring to micro-management.

Eat the Frog First

Not literally of course, but keep your mornings reserved for the hardest, least appealing tasks on your agenda, which you really need to do.  Here’s the deal – our brain mostly feels discouraged by large, seemingly difficult tasks. Yet once you start working on it, the notorious Zeigarnik effect will help you complete it. It’s an in-built nagger we have inside our minds that urges us to finish the task that was already started.

Also, eating your frog first thing in the morning will make you feel more accomplished and ready to cross-off smaller and simpler tasks in one sitting.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien