Time has always been the most valuable asset in business.
Today, though, it is even more precious as distractions and opportunities bombard us in an unprecedented way. Strike down timewasters with these five smart tips.
Cell phone in the morning
Waking up and immediately looking at your cell phone sets a bad tone for the day, as you could easily spend your first minutes, if not hours shuffling through emails and social media before even getting out of bed.
Do this instead: Dedicate the first 5 minutes of your day to a simple routine, like meditating, journaling, making your bed or another simple activity. Whether conscious or not, the routine will give your mind a chance to get centered and focused for the rest of the day.
Long to-do lists
Massive to-do lists not only create an intimidating outlook on your day, but also make you feel unaccomplished when you finish the day barely having made a dent in it.
Do this instead: Tomorrow, list only three absolute must-do things to get done. It narrows your focus, helps you prioritize your energy and gives you momentum to complete the three things – and then some.
Checking social media
Social media can be compelling, especially if a political, personal or pop cultural drama is unfolding – which is every day!
Do this instead: Delete your social media apps and/or log out of them whenever you are done using them. Rather than mindlessly checking in repeatedly during the day, looking at social media will then require more effort on your part, and you will be less likely to waste time there you could be spending elsewhere.
Replying to emails may be a serious timesuck, but we do ourselves no favors by sending laborious, overexplanatory letters in return.
Do this instead: Make it a habit of keeping emails to five sentences or less. It may sound ridiculous, but the practice will make you more efficient and thoughtful in what you say, even if you aren’t able to make it under that limit.
Being chronically late wastes everyone’s time, as does being in such a rush that it takes you minutes to compose yourself after you arrive to the next meeting.
Do this instead: Provide at least 10 minutes breathing room between meetings – and double when you are in a chaotic or busy atmosphere, like during potential traffic or at a busy conference. Missing potential opportunities is less risky than sloppily taking on a bloated schedule.