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Do you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything you need to do done? Do you feel like you’re spending every spare minute working, but you’re still not achieving your goals?
We all wish we had more time in a day, don’t we? Unfortunately, that’s not possible. We’re all given the same 24 hours in a day. What we need to figure out is how to maximize our time so that we make the most of every minute we have.
In order to do that, it’s important to identify your time-wasting activities. Often the worst culprits are the seemingly harmless activities that you’re wasting time on without you realizing like checking your email or pressing snooze. It’s these types of activities that make you wonder, where has all my time gone?
Identify your productivity leaks
The first step is to identify what your productivity leaks are. What activities are you wasting time on that could be put to better use.
To figure out where you’re wasting time, try to keep a log of what you’re spending your time doing. Keep a notebook with you to record your time or download my printable time tracker. My time tracker is broken down into half-hour slots, but if you’re using a notebook, you could track your time at any interval that suits your own schedule.
Try to be as detailed as possible when you track your time. The purpose of this experiment is to identify all the little time sucks that are stopping you from reaching your goals. You need to be accountable for every minute.
I recommend that you track your time for several days if not an entire week. At the end of the week, analyze your time tracker and add up the amount of time you spent on each activity. You should be able to break it down into categories like family time, social media, watching TV, exercise, etc.
I bet you will be amazed at how little time you actually spent on work or activities that were on your to-do list!
Typical time wasters
- Mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Social media might be an important part of your marketing strategy for your business, and you might have to spend quite a bit of time on it, but it’s easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole and lose focus.
- Completing household chores. Obviously, you need to do these. But when you’re doing household chores at the expense of work that will earn you money, something needs to change. Try a power hour to get tons of small household chores done in a short amount of time.
- Getting interrupted by visits/calls from friends or family. When you work from home, people often assume that you have time to chat, meet them for lunch, or run errands for them. You need to set clear boundaries so that they know that you are working and can’t be disturbed.
- Watching Netflix/TV/YouTube. These are my personal vices. I’m ashamed to admit that I spend about 5 HOURS A DAY watching Netflix and YouTube. It’s a really bad habit because often the types of programmes I watch aren’t really adding any value to my life. I know I would be much better off spending this time on my business. It’s finding the willpower to stop watching that’s the problem!
- Checking your email notifications constantly. If you have an online business like I do, then you might feel like you have to check your emails regularly throughout the day. Doing this distracts you from what you’re supposed to be doing though. And usually, they don’t require an immediate response.
- Pressing snooze on your alarm clock. I used to press snooze at least three times before I moved in with my boyfriend and felt guilty about all the noise! All those ten-minute snoozes add up. You could be losing hours of time each week!
- How to Achieve the Perfect Work-Life Balance When You Work from Home
- Too Much Life in Your Work-Life Balance? Here’s How to Fix It
Analyze your findings
When you look closely at your time tracker, it will be clear how much time you spend on checking your emails, scrolling through Facebook, texting or ringing friends and family, daydreaming, watching Netflix, fetching drinks and snacks, deciding what to eat, and a whole host of other non-work-related activities.
You should be able to calculate how many hours and what percentage of your time you spend on each of these tasks. Does the number of hours correlate with how much time you thought you were spending on certain activities? Are you happy with how much time you’re spending on these activities? This will give you an idea of what you could change about how you spend your time.
Now that you know what you’ve been wasting time on, you can try to change your habits. Just think how satisfying it will be to watch them disappear from your time tracker while you become the productivity hero you were meant to be!
Make an action plan
The next step is to come up with an action plan to remove these productivity leaks from your life. You can use the second page in my printable time tracker to identify what action you need to take to reduce the amount of time spent on certain tasks or what tasks you need to spend more time on to reach your goals.
I have broken down the printable into four sections: Prioritize, Streamline, Outsource, and Reduce. Assess each activity that you identified on your time tracker and slot them into one of these sections.
Prioritize will be for tasks/activities that you deem important for meeting your goals. These could be writing a blog post, sending an email to your subscriber list, or engaging with potential clients.
Streamline will be for tasks that are important but have the potential to be streamlined like using schedulers to promote your blog or business on social media, or meal planning and prepping to save time on food preparation.
Outsource will be for tasks that are time-consuming and that you don’t really like. This is a tricky one because it depends on if you have the budget to outsource tasks. How much it will cost depends on what the task is. Some tasks you might choose to outsource are cleaning your house, walking your dog, managing your own social media accounts, or replying to emails.
For some of these tasks, you could search on Fiverr to find a freelancer to do the task for you for an affordable price. Fiverr is a great place to find virtual assistants. You could use an app like Care.com to find a dog walker or house cleaner in your area.
You can choose to outsource on a regular basis or ad-hoc basis when you need to free up some time to meet a deadline. It doesn’t always have to cost you money to outsource. You could ask your family to take care of certain tasks around the house like cleaning and cooking if you need extra help.
Reduce will be for tasks that are not adding value to your life like watching YouTube videos or pressing snooze five times. I’m not going to tell you to stop doing these things because we all need to relax in front of the TV sometimes or catch up on some sleep. But acknowledging and actively trying to spend less time on these activities will help you put your time to better use.
You might also like
- Why Multitasking Won’t Make You More Productive
- How to Identify and Make the Most of Your Peak Productivity Hours
- How to be More Productive When You Work from Home
I hope you found this blog post helpful. What are your productivity leaks? Are you a Netflix nut like me or what are your time wasters? Let me know in the comments below.
FREE Printable Time Tracker
Time to eliminate those time wasters and go from productivity zero to hero!
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