For most of us, January often signifies that there’s a whiff of change in the air. Maybe it’s finally committing to a daily workout routine, learning to delegate more or simply spending more time with your loved ones. Whatever your target is, if you don’t learn how to be ruthless with your time and limit distractions you’ll fail to achieve your goals.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or professional working 40 or 70 hours per week, there’s always competing demands — assignments, conference calls, meetings, emails, etc.– often within the same day or even hour. And according to a recent study from CareerBuilder, when it comes to distractions at work, cellphone use (50%), workplace gossip (42%) and searching the Internet for non-work-related information (39%) are the leading culprits. Social media, behaviors of co-workers, snack breaks or smoke breaks, meetings and other factors were also identified as primary productivity stoppers in the workplace.
So in the midst of it all, how can you get it all done successfully? Here’ some great tips via CareerBuilder:
- Organize and prioritize: De-clutter your workspace and clearly lay out your game plan for the week. What do you need to accomplish each day? How much time will each project take? Which projects have the highest priority?
- Limit interruptions : Incoming calls and co-workers dropping by to chat about their weekend can break your concentration and eat up time. Block off a conference room to work on a project to avoid distractions at your desk. Read your email at intervals instead of opening each one as soon as it comes in. Consider telecommuting on certain days.
- Avoid unnecessary meetings: Don’t set aside an hour to meet about an issue or initiative that can be addressed with a quick phone call. Politely decline the meeting invitation and follow up with the organizer.
- Get personal on your own time: Whether you want to call a friend, take advantage of an online sale or post a picture of your dog on your social profile, do it during your lunch hour or break time or after work.
- Communicate wisely: Don’t spend 20 minutes crafting an email to the person sitting in the next cubicle. Save time by picking up the phone or walking over to your colleague’s desk.
- Don’t delay the inevitable: Finding other things to do so you can put off a less preferred project will only end up wasting more time. Don’t procrastinate. Dive in and tackle the task at hand.