By Cheryl Gregory
With best intentions, you begin your day energetically. Suddenly, the day is over. You feel you haven’t accomplished anything, and you are exhausted. What happened? Here are five time zappers that you may need to manage:
Responding every time you hear the alert eats time and focus. Schedule times in your day to read and respond to emails. Create files and rules for re-directing incoming emails to read later.
2. Social Media
Be strategic. What groups will you interact with? What marketing messages will you send out/share? Schedule time slots for interaction. Plan ahead using a simple template so you can schedule future posts. (Download a template here).
3. You engage in “busy-ness” vs. “business”
To Do lists are great, but if all you get at the end of the day are lots of check marks, you may be at risk of being in “busy-ness”. Ensure your list includes 3-5 items you will action that move your “business” forward.
4. You are a Multi-tasking Maven
There are 2 kinds of multi-tasking:
Effective multi-tasking – While you upload a video to your YouTube channel, you work on another activity.
Ineffective multi-tasking – Jumping back and forth between emails, social media and other activities.
Statistics show switching focus eats anywhere from 20 seconds to 20 minutes of re-focus time (depending upon the nature of the work). It is also mentally exhausting. Organize and prioritize. Focus on one thing at a time.
Here are two biggies that put the brakes on: Fear and avoidance.
Does fear prevent you from calling people about your business, or following up after a networking event? Don’t waste time worrying.
Do the calls early in the day – get them out of the way. Decide you will have a “conversation” with the person. Don’t attach emotion to the outcome. Focus on what they are saying and think about how you can help solve a problem for them. Concentrating on their issues, takes the pressure off worrying about you.
You may avoid activities like creating an event, or designing a marketing outline for social media. You know it is important, but it feels overwhelming. Try this 3-step formula:
- Write the main components of your project on index cards. Spread them out on a table.
- Write activities related to each of the main components (one activity per card).
- Move the activity cards around, reverse engineering the project – put them in the order each item needs to be done, so other items (that depend on them) can follow smoothly.
This creates order in your work and your mind, and it breaks projects into small bites. They are less threatening, easier to do, and more time efficient.
Manage these five time zappers so you are proactive, not reactive. You will accomplish more in your business and still have energy for you.