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Improve Productivity by Avoiding Time Wasters

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Working HardRegardless of your occupation, there is probably an incentive that comes with working longer or harder. Higher commission, quarterly bonuses, or the promise of a promotion are some of the ways that companies motivate their employees to be a better value to the business.

Those who are self –employed know that working hard isn’t an option but instead a requirement. Every minute is important and maximizing time becomes an art that has a direct effect on the amount of money that flows in to a business that often can’t afford to see lower revenues.

Go ahead and admit it. You’re not as efficient during your work day as you could be and if you think you are, test yourself against these time wasters and see how you size up. It’s not realistic to think that you can operate at 100% peak efficiency all day long but small improvements in the way you manage you day and your workload could lead to more money in your pocket.

E-mail

E-mail might rank with automated customer service as the best and worst invention to hit the business world in decades. We use it for legitimate business related communications, as a form of cyber gossip and to argue with coworkers. (Not that you should use e-mail to solve conflicts but go ahead and admit it, you’ve had some pretty nasty cyber-arguments)

And have you noticed that e-mail creates more e-mail? The more you send, the more you get. In fact, one study showed that employees who have a job that keeps them at a desk most of the day lost a little over 2 hours of productivity daily by e-mailing for a total cost to large companies of $1 billion in lost productivity.

Want to be happier? Turn off your e-mail according to another study. It found that employees who kept their e-mail programs turned on during the day were more stressed, had lower attention spans, and reported less job satisfaction.

Multitasking

You know that guy in the next office who annoying does everything at once and seems to always have time for another project? He works on one pile, then turns to another, then takes on some other job and still has time to talk it up with the boss about last night’s game. Studies show that the multi-tasking overachiever probably isn’t as efficient as he would like you to think. Scientists know that the human brain isn’t actually capable of multitasking.

Our brains can switch rapidly between tasks but we can’t do more than one task at the same time, at least not well. Multitasking increases the time it takes to complete a task and often lowers the quality, studies show.

Not convinced? Find two tasks similar in scope that should take about the same time to complete. Grab a stopwatch or just use a clock and complete the first task as you normally would. Next, complete the second task with your e-mail turned off, don’t answer the phone, and don’t do anything else until you have completed that job. Which one was faster and which one produced the best results?

80/20

20% of what you do drives 80% of your success and often the tasks you resist the most are what produce the revenue or career advancement. You can rationalize and say that you’re using Twitter and Facebook as ways to network but how much business have you really received from Facebook?

Time management is a skill and an art. Maximizing your time allows you more flexibility in your day. Not only can you be the person talking it up with the boss but you can be sure that the work you complete is quality.

(Photo: eflon)

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