Stop Wasting Your Time

Business Week recently published the top time wasters at your job.

It won’t surprise you that number one is Facebook, personal email and wasting time online.  That’s a given, right?  (You are probably reading this at work. . . but I can’t say it’s wasting time because we’re about to make you hella productive).

We’ll go ahead and tell you that the third biggest time waster at your job is interruptions.  That isn’t really something that you can control unless you get up and shut the door to your office or put a big tarp over your cubicle or hang a Do Not Disturb sign around your neck.

It’s number two that shocked us.  The second biggest time waster at your job is:

Clutter

Yup.  All that crap that is lying on, in, around and underneath your desk or your locker or your cubby or your personal work area.  In fact, Business Week says that you spend about SIX WEEKS of the year just looking for crap you should be able to find.   If you have a personal assistant, just go ahead and ignore this email unless your PA can’t find stuff, then you have big problems.

We’re going to include the stuff inside your computer that is cluttering up your life and making it more difficult to find the things you really need.  Just think of the last time someone asked for a file that you haven’t worked on for six months.  Did it take more than 30 seconds to find it?  If so, you might need a little digital organization.  What about your email?  Are you constantly using the search bar to hunt down information?  If so, you might have some organization to do.

So, if so much of our time is wasted just looking for things, how can you get a little more organized and a little less chaotic?

1.  Organize your inbox.  Did you know you can set your inbox to clean itself and move things to archive regularly?  We do it every few weeks automatically.  That keeps your inbox in control and then you can find what you need in your archived email inbox.

2.  Use a planner of some kind.  This will help you keep track of what you have going on and what you don’t.  It stops the endless sticky notes that are everywhere, yet never read.  It also helps you keep control of your day.  You can move things from today to tomorrow and you won’t lose your priorities.  You can do this digitally but sometimes it is just nice to have five minutes of the day to write something down.  Which brings us to….

3.  Spend five minutes a day organizing your day.  Those five minutes can mean you are going to get things done or you are going to spiral down into chaos.  Being unorganized means you will spend your day working on what is on the top of your inbox but not necessarily on the things that are priority.

4.  Come in for one extra hour to clean that clutter.  I know it sounds crazy, but spending that one hour a month or a year cleaning out your desk and paring down to the essentials could help you focus and find things that are critical to your world.  And, you’ve probably hidden some good snacks that you’ll also find and be able to enjoy!

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