For the last two weeks, I have completely lost track of time. Everyday I’m like “What day is it?” thinking it’s Saturday most days… and you know what, I love it!
No, it’s not a vacation… if that were only true. Still grinding it out everyday like most entrepreneurs, the difference is, my kids have been done school for about two weeks now.
As I work from home, and with my kids home all day, there are definitely more disruptions and noise in my work environment. There are many things that are constantly seducing me to waste my time.
When I tell people that I typically work from my kitchen table, they often ask “How do you get anything done with the noise and energy of having four kids in the room?”
Trust me, I have no choice but to focus. They’ll often hear me say “I’ll be in my studio”, a phrase that I picked up from an episode of America’s Got Talent. This simply means that I am putting on my headphones and cranking up the music.
As a business owner, the most valuable thing that I have is time. When I get sidetracked, chasing rabbit trails, I lose valuable time. Time that could be invested into growing my business or spent enjoying my family.
According to a study performed by Salary.com, 47% of people waste between one to two hours per day. Over the course of a year, that ends up being 240 hours/year, or 1.5 months worth of full-time work. That’s a whole lot of wasted time.
With social media, smartphone usage and screen time at an all-time high, it’s no wonder there are more distractions that steal our focus.
Do you struggle with time waste when it comes to focussing on daily goals and tasks? Here are some tips for reducing wasted time that have helped me ensure my time is well spent.
1. Set achievable, daily goals.
Before you start into your day, layout reasonable goals to accomplish for the day. If it is a big project, break it down into small tasks. As you complete a task, check it off your list. It give a greater sense of accomplishment and helps keep momentum.
This takes practice and retraining your mind. The moment you notice that your mind has wandered, bring it back to the task at hand. Before you know it, you will be getting quicker and quicker eventually stopping before you start!
I do not know how many times I have gone to Facebook Messenger to refer to a message sent from a customer… ten minutes later I close the tab thinking “I should get back to work” only realizing then that I have completely forgot why I went to Facebook in the first place. That damn little red notification icon draws you like Alice down the rabbit hole.
3. Reduce noise.
Of course this depends on the person, but for me, it’s imperative. As mentioned earlier, I use headphones with music. It also depends on the mood I am in. I usually listen to upbeat music, but sometimes I will listen to melodic instrumental music like Chillstep. If I am doing work that requires less thought, I may listen to motivation speakers or podcasts. These things remove the distractions in the room, like when my kids are watching a movie or playing the Wii U.
4. Remove yourself.
These things aren’t working? Try removing yourself and changing your atmosphere. There are times when I will go to my bedroom for a silence or sit on the deck and listen to the birds chirp as I work. Sometimes I head to a local cafe, take my laptop and headphones and enjoy a fresh latte. In the middle of winter, I went to a local hotel that has an indoor pool surrounded with lush vegetation to feel like I was on a tropical vacation.
5. Be an early bird.
The most productive hours for a business owner are before the business opens and employees arrive. After that you have all kinds of things that pull you away from your work. I remember being told this a few years back from a customer. [quote cite=’Robin Sharma’ align=’right’]Join the 5am club. Your most valuable hours are 5am to 8am. They have the least interruptions.[/quote] He mentioned that goes into work at 5:00am, and I thought “Dang! That’s early.” Then a few years ago, I decided to become a morning person. I used to stay up until my energy was completely spent and it was never the same time each night. Some nights it was midnight and some nights it was 3:30am. I always has a wake up time of 7:00am to get the kids off to school. Transferring those hours from night to morning, I noticed a HUGE difference and highly recommend it.
6. Get more sleep.
I used to believe the lie that more hours = more stuff done. This is simply NOT true. When you work tired, your focus fades and productivity lacks. It is better to take an extra hour of sleep and work harder and more focused throughout the day. Force yourself to be on a schedule. A schedule will help you get up earlier without feeling groggy, it will also help your body allocate energy and resources to body as needed.
I increased my sleep time to 6.5 – 7 hours per night and saw a dramatic increase in focus. Bedtime is at 10:30-11:00pm every night and I get up around 5:30am. A sleep tracking app with a “Smart Period” alarm has helped reduce grogginess. I set my alarm for 5:55am and the app wakes me up between 5:25-5:55am dependant on when the app thinks I am in my lightest sleep. It works great and has made getting up early much easier.
7. The reason.
If all else fails, I remind myself that my time is limited and I don’t know how many hours I have left in the bank… no one does. When I get off track, I remind myself that I am giving up time that I could be spending with my wife and kids… and it kills me. There is nothing more that I want to do than enjoy time with my family.
These are the main things that have helped me to prevent time loss. I hope that you can implement some or all of these and see positive results as I have. If you have some ideas that you have found to work to reduce time waste, let us know about them by commenting below.