Ever get the feeling that there’s not enough hours in the day? Me too. And the reason for that? Well..there are these little things called ‘Time Wasters’ and for many of us they can eat into our days and before we know it we have nothing done. All that morning’s good intentions are out the window. We can stop them though...if we try...
Procrastinating Most of us at one time or another waste more time moaning about all the things we have to do rather than actually doing them. And the longer we leave them, the harder it gets. The simple answer to this is to just start doing - stop the moaning and the talking and just start doing. If you’re faced with a long to-do list, get into the habit of doing the toughest tasks first. Once that’s done, everything else will seem easier. And there’s something deeply satisfying about crossing something off a list - especially something you’ve been dreading doing.
Email addiction For some of us this is can be the biggest time waster of all. Admittedly we all have to check our emails at the very least once a day. However is there really a need to reply immediately to every email that we receive? Do people really expect an instant reply? The answer to both is probably no. One of the best ways to combat email addiction is to try and instil a bit of discipline. Try and devote a particular time - at the start or end of the day or perhaps even both when you reply to emails and don’t deviate from that. After all, the more time you spend replying to emails, the less you’ll get done. As for checking emails on your phone? The best thing to do is to turn off the email alerts - ignore the inbox and try and be disciplined about only looking at them at set times. It’ll be hard to do, especially if you’re one of those people whose mobile is permanently in the hand - hard though but not impossible. If you use Gmail, setting up Priority Emails can really have an amazing impact on the amount of time you spend trying to sort the important from ‘the rest’, shall we say..
Social Media It’s very easy to get completely caught up in social media to the expense of getting anything else done. Whether it’s getting involved in an online debate ourselves or having a voyeur like role at the social chatter and engagement between others. The key thing to do is to prioritize - read the important stuff being said by the people that really matter. Are people really going to stop following you on Twitter or being your Facebook friend if you don’t reply to them immediately? No? Didn’t think so... Also, don’t try and play catch-up if you’ve not been ‘there’ for a few hours - look at the current posts and tweets, not everything that’s been said for the entire time of your absence. To stop this? Like with emails, get into the habit of only checking in at set times and at other times - use the old ‘log out’ function...
Reading stuff online you know what it’s like. You’re busy working away and then you get ever so slightly distracted. You remember you wanted to go to the cinema tonight. So you check out the cinema website to check times and then you wonder about the films they’re showing, so you check out a couple of review sites. Then you get distracted by another article on that site with news or gossip about the star or whatever. You can pretty much replace cinema with any other hobby or interest that you have. We all get sidetracked and read something online entirely unrelated to our work. That then leads to us reading something else and so on. The minutes and the hours can pass and then we get the little shock reminder when we glance at the time and realize how time has flown and we haven’t done a thing. Again discipline is the only answer here. Force yourself to look at all the non-work stuff at set times. Don’t waste time visiting lots of different sites every day to see what new articles they’ve posted - subscribe to RSS feeds and save yourself lots the hassle. Time is precious you know...
Interruptions Whether it’s the phone ringing or people talking to you - when you’re trying to work and keep getting interrupted, it’s pretty frustrating. It can be hard to tell people to go away, but it can be done, albeit in a polite way. If someone asks if you have a minute to chat, say no, not right now. Activate your voicemail . If something is really important, a message will be left. Other people might be responsible for interrupting us and thereby hampering our work efforts; however we’re responsible for not learning how to say no..or at least not at the minute.
If you have any tips for dealing with the dreaded time wasters, we want to know them! Why not share them over at the forum.
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