Updated: Jul 21, 2022
You have enough time. The problem is that you waste it.
If only we had a dollar for every time we said “I just wish I had more time”.
You’re not alone if you have ever felt that you would get so much more done in your business if you had more time.
But what if I told you that it’s not the amount of time you have, but the way you spend it?
And what if the key to spending your time better, was not wasting the time that you actually have?
Hard to hear right? It was for me too.
I’ve always had a challenge with time management and blamed it on everyone and anything but myself. To label myself as someone who “wasted time” was not easy.
It wasn’t until very recently (in the past year) that I have been able to identify the three biggest causes of my time management.
Knowing the root causes of my time-wasting behavior was instrumental in finding a way to move forward. I wonder if you can relate to any of them…
I almost always miscalculate time.
I’m the “this will only take 30 minutes” but 99% of the time it takes 2-3 hours. I am a work in progress at estimating task times for myself and my team.
I have shiny object syndrome.
I find it hard to zone out distractions. While writing this article I have sent 7 replies to text messages. None of them were important enough that they couldn’t wait. I also have the TV on in the background. I know that this issue for me comes from the era when multitasking was a skill you’d boast about in a job interview, not a liability. I wrote the first sentence of this article and then sent my friend a “hey what’s up” text with the plan that she and I could ping each other back and forth while I typed this. I know! I did it to myself.
I don’t have anyone to be accountable to.
If I blow off a whole day or procrastinate for a few hours, nobody holds me responsible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I lay by the pool or watch Netflix all day (I wish). Often I have a plan for the day and it doesn’t go the way I want it to. I end up pushing out a task to the next day. I’m sure there are tasks on my list that are older than some of the cans in my pantry. As long as I meet my client deadlines, I have nobody standing over me managing how I work. So anything other than client work can be pushed out and procrastinated over indefinitely. This allows me to get away with a lot!
These three problems that I have are common to so many people.
So the question is, are they fixable?
Can I do anything about them?
If I eliminate, or at the very least improve in these areas, will I be more productive?
Will I stop wasting time?
So how can my experience help you?
Follow my two-step process below and in just one week from today, you’ll know your personal distractions, problems, and habits. You will be primed to finally take the first correct step in fixing your time management problem.
The first step to fixing your time management issues is admitting that you have them. While you may feel like somewhat of a failure admitting your shortcomings, I have to admit a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders the minute I admitted it.
Owning my issue allowed me to channel my energy into finding solutions instead of coming up with excuses. "My name is Sandra and I waste time."
Over the past 3 months, I have been working on exactly that.
I have taken a short course on focus and distraction.
I have started reading about habits and routines.
I have downloaded some tools to help me be better organized.
And yes… I’m starting to see results. I’m not perfect but I can see positive changes!
The next step is to monitor your behavior over a typical workday.
Every time you find yourself straying from what you planned to do, record what it was that distracted you.
At the end of my first day of recording distractions, my list looked like this…
A phone or computer notification
A family member talking to me (or me talking to them)
Opening social media without even realizing I was doing it
Logging into an app or program and instead of going directly to what I need, being distracted by the first thing I see
Another task that needed completing to get closer to the one that I had scheduled
Previous commitments or tasks running over in my schedule
Putting out a "client fire" or fixing something that broke
After one week of monitoring and recording your daily work habits, you will be confronted with some startling results.
You’ll know exactly what (or who) it is that distracts you.
And when you are armed with the accountability of facing the problem, and the root cause of the problem, you are in the perfect place to find a solution.