Overcoming Procrastination: 4 Tips for Improving Time Management
“Today is the day I’m finally going to get to that thing I’ve been putting off.” That’s a great, affirmative statement. The trouble is, it’s the fourth time you’ve said it. But as with all small businesses, distractions come up, and when the end of the day rolls around, you’ve run out of time. It’s not that you aren’t motivated. You just need to find a different way to react to the interruptions. Here are four tips to better manage the demands on your time.
- Don’t start the day reading emails – The first part of the day is often your most productive time. Emails can quickly divert that energy. Instead,take the first 30 minutes to plan your day. That includes reviewing your schedule. Block time if you need to so you can accomplish the 1 or 2 most important things for that day. Setting your goals for the day helps you focus on the vital few and gives you a better sense of control.
- Turn off the instant notification sounds – It’s tempting to jump on an email when you hear the notification sound on your phone or computer. Temporarily muting the notification allows you to resist the urge to give it your immediate attention. The same thing applies to instant notifications for social media, like Facebook and Words with Friends. Instead, schedule your email time. You may find answering a group of emails takes less time than if you had done them one at a time.
- Schedule your interruptions – Unless your business is on a desert island, interruptions are inevitable. So if they’re going to take up your time, why not schedule for it? Add some contingency time into your schedule. Consider scheduling 15 minutes between appointments. That way, when distractions come up, you won’t feel like they are taking you away from your plans – it’ll just be a part of your planned schedule.
- Let your admin assistant take a note – Interruptions aren’t always a bad thing. In the middle of a task, you can have a great idea or remember something important you forgot. Acknowledge it by writing it down. Then let the note remember it for you and go back to your task. Most owners don’t have an admin assistant, but a handy notepad will do. There are also some smartphone apps that allow you to jot notes. Some even allow you to speak into the phone, and the program will transcribe it into a written note. Evernote is an example of one.
Take control of your day by actively managing the demands on your time. Interruptions are a part of your business day. But for some, they can become an excuse to procrastinate. By changing how you react to them, you can stay more focused and accomplish your goals.