I’ll admit it’s something I have struggled in the past to manage on an ongoing basis, but as the business owner it’s important to take complete control over the use of your time.
Much has been written on the effective use of time and how it affects productivity, but what I want to do is give you a few tips that have helped me and my team (and especially me, over the last year or so), so you too can apply them to your working day.
I believe I have at least doubled my productivity in the last year and most of this gain has been achieved by eliminating ‘Time Vampires’ from my daily routine.
There are a number of Time Vampires, ranging from staff, family, friends, your mobile phone, travel and your office phone. But by far the worst is EMAIL. For many people, EMAIL is the biggest, most destructive Time Vampire. It rules their day and massively reduces productivity.
Obviously email is a great business tool but for many it’s got out of hand. Think about it…
What do you do first thing in the morning, and last thing at night?
If you’re like most people, you turn your email on first thing and look at it last thing.
If that’s close to what you do with your email, then unfortunately EMAIL IS RULING YOU—NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
It’s not easy to change a habit like this, but if you want to take back control of your working day (and weekends) you have to figuratively speaking drive a stake through the heart of your email and make it your slave.
Here’s how to do it…
TIP #1: DON’T TURN EMAIL ON FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
You want to get your day off to the best possible start and in the most productive way. Therefore, you MUST NOT turn your email on first thing in the morning.
Instead, wait at least 2 to 3 hours.
This gives you quality time to work on the business in the best frame of mind. You don’t want to be reading and replying to emails. Worse still, a bad email can derail your entire day.
TIP #2: KEEP IT TURNED OFF
You should only open your email two or three times a day. Once you’ve done what you need to do with the emails, then CLOSE your email programme down.
DO NOT leave it on, even in the background. Emails popping in is a massive distraction and interrupts your work.
TIP #3: DON’T LOOK AT YOUR EMAIL LAST THING AT NIGHT
The temptation before going to bed is to look at your emails. Get out of this habit. Everything can be sorted the following day (remember, not first thing: do it 2 or 3 hours later!).
This takes real discipline and you can quickly revert back to old habits, but work on it and you’ll see a massive difference in your productivity!
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