How much time do you spend checking your email, reading blogs, watching youtube? The list could be endless, but your time can certainly be better spent. The importance of good time management has never been more vital in our forever increasing digital life.
Spending time online is one of the most significant time drains that we encounter these days and is an indicator of poor time management.
I am as guilty as anyone. I think I am just going to check my emails many mornings, and before I know it, an hour has passed, and I’m shopping for a face cream I didn’t know I needed. ?
We are so easily distracted by all of the fun and exciting things online that work seems so dull in comparison.
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”― Joshua Becker.
Here are some tips to try and keep you focused on what you were initially trying to do.
Ignore notifications to improve your time management
If you do nothing else, please take control of all of your electronic messages and app notifications.
Frequent pop-ups and alerts are distracting and are guaranteed to pull your attention away from the task at hand.
Do you really need to be informed when the latest celebrity has just posted a picture on Instagram? Or is it so important to find out someone you knew 5 years ago has just had a great meal out and posted on Facebook?
Yes, it’s interesting to scroll through Instagram and Facebook, but think how closer you would be to your goals if you spent that time on something more productive.
The fact you are reading this means that you are trying to find the time to do more important things.
One of the most constructive things you can do is switch off these notifications.
While completely shutting down your online life isn’t practical, managing your messages is.
Block yourself from sites
If you find that particular sites distract you and drain your precious time, why not try blocking them.
SelfControl is a free app for Mac owners that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period to stop for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.”
Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
Windows users can try similar applications, like StayFocusd for Chrome or Cold Turkey for additional controls.
Outsource and automate
In today’s technological world, there are many options for automating processes, such as emails, printing postage labels, etc.
If there is a task you frequently do and you think could be automated, look into it. It can shrink your to-do list significantly.
A simple trick you can use to reduce the number of emails you need to look through is to set up redirection rules for frequent emails. You can then choose to look at them when you want to, rather than being distracted by them throughout the day.
I recently created a set of email redirection rules that helped me take control of my inbox. Over a week, all the emails that arrived and I still wanted to receive got added to one of the new rules that placed them into a specific email folder and not my inbox. I can then look at them as and when I am interested in that topic.
Emails that turned up and I no longer found much value in I unsubscribed.
Because I now have my blogs and favourite shops and all their discounts safely tucked away in folders, I am not distracted to browse so often. Not only do I save time, but I save money too!!
This has resulted in me gaining back hours a day that I used to spend going through email. And has made it easier to accomplish the next point.
Don’t check your email.
Email notifications are another great distractor.
It’s easy to waste time sifting through dozens of emails.
All it takes is one email notification and, before you know it, you’ve wasted 30 minutes organising and responding to multiple emails.
Don’t let email take over your day.
Why not try checking email only at a specific time in the day.
Decide on a specific time of the day to review and deal with email and stick to it. Also allow yourself a particular block of time and try not to exceed it.
Unless you are waiting for something critical to come in, you will find that most emails can wait a day before responding to them. Sometimes if you don’t respond straight away, others have responded in place of you, saving you the bother. Bonus!! ?
Timothy Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, strongly advocates this approach. He has even gone to the extent of only checking emails once a week.
Experiment with this idea and see what works best for you.
This is an excellent example of batch processing which we talk about more in the next time management tip.
If you want more time management to help you get things done then take a look here.