Time management. We've all heard the advice on how to better manage our days and tasks at work. Prioritize. Make lists. Don't multi-task. Do multi-task. Assign tasks on your calendar. Set deadlines even when there are none. Blah blah blah. Nothing new, amirite?
I didn't want to bore you with a pep talk about finding the unique system that works for YOU. I do want to bore you with tips you might not have thought about before because you time-managed yourself right out of time to think. But seriously, some things Maja Mrsic brought up in her blog post for OpenView shined the light on a few mistakes I've been making. And if you're honest with yourself, you know you're making them too.
Failing to manage numerous distractions
"While a variety of communication channels and social media platforms allow us to communicate more easily, they are also the main cause of distraction we experience both in life and business," Mrsic wrote.
I don't know about you, but the IM application my office uses is more like a black, swirling, magnetic vortex of distraction. I get sucked in time and time again all day long. Now I see how much that is costing me in productivity. So, instead of coming to work wearing a magnet-repelling helmet, I'm going to devote an hour each day to DND. Yup, I'm dialing down that demon of distraction with the power of my snooze button. You can too. Deuces.
"Whether it’s the phone that keeps ringing or notifications that you keep getting from either chat or social media groups, they interrupt our workflow and break our creative process," Mrsic said. "Turn off all the notifications and chat, schedule time free from interruptions, an hour or two, and minimize the time you spend on things that don’t have much impact on your work."
Skipping on breaks
My perfectly scheduled Outlook calendar day does not have time for these breaks you speak of, Maja!
"This may sound counter productive but it’s really important to incorporate into your daily routine to see the results in the long run," Mrsic pointed out. Yes, Maja, taking breaks sounds EXACTLY like counter productive. But just when I am about to write her off, she backs up her claim with research. (Love her!)
"No matter whether you are working on urgent tasks or completing some minor errands, setting some time aside to have a break is simply an imperative. According to a study conducted by Draugiem Group, our brains simply weren’t built to focus for eight full hours. The only reasonable solution is to step away and do something not related to your job – eat, go for a quick walk, exercise, or simply do nothing and relax. This should help you clear your thoughts and gain more psychological energy for the work to come."
I don't need to be told twice to eat a snack, so winner winner chicken dinner on that suggestion! Now, how will YOU stop making this mistake and start taking a break?