We all have the same 24 hours in a day. 24 hours to sleep, eat, look after ourselves and our families, work, and play.
But why are some people able to make better use of their time than others?
Why do some people seem to be super productive and to have their sh*t together, while others of us struggle to stay focused and accomplish our goals?
Those people aren’t necessarily more organised or have less competing for their attention. They aren’t necessarily surrounded by a team of people to support them and take tasks off their plates.
those people are just working smarter
First, they have clarity in their goals. They know what they want to achieve and why those goals are important for them.
Then, they prioritise those goals. They realise that it is impossible to do everything all at once. Rather than even try, they will create a plan of attack and make some compromises along the way.
Finally, they stay focused. They don’t necessarily ignore all the inputs fighting for their attention, but they don’t react to everything instantly.
The most productive people are good at deciding quickly what requires immediate attention and what can be dealt with later, delegated to someone else, or ignored.
the secret to working smarter
According to Workplace Trends, it takes us 11 minutes of working on a task before we get distracted.
Think about it – you’re sitting down to start replying to emails and a link tempts you. You then go down an internet rabbit-hole and forget all about those emails.
Or maybe you’re working on your marketing content for the month ahead, and a phone call comes through. You react immediately to whatever is requested in that call, and your marketing plan gets moved to another day.
It isn’t long before your mind is elsewhere and your focus is gone.
Once you’ve been distracted, it takes about 25 minutes to get back on track with that task. On average, you’re losing over 2 hours per day as a result of distractions!
I can think of sooooo many better things to do with those 2 hours each day. I’m sure you can too!
know how you’re wasting your time
As a business owner, you should focus on activities that will grow your business. These activities include strategic planning, finding customers, and delivering on your promise to those customers.
Yet, many business owners are doing EVERYTHING in their business. Strategy, sales, marketing, finance, operations, management…the list is endless. Plus they’re constantly putting out fires.
But do you know how much time you’re spending on the important activities vs the time you’re spending on the trivial stuff?
Do you know how much time you’re spending on tasks that get you closer to your goals vs those that cause you to stay stuck?
I wanted to start working smarter. And the only way I could truly do that was by gaining awareness on how my time was truly being spent.
I started tracking my time
I believed that I was organised and focused, but I wanted the data to confirm my beliefs. Two months ago, I began tracking all of my time using Clockify.
I set up different “projects” and “descriptions” within Clockify so I could get a really clear idea on exactly what I was doing.
The project are:
- Content Creation
- Social Media
Each project is broken down further into relevant descriptions.
For example, “Clients” includes:
- and follow ups
“Social Media” includes:
- and scheduling
Once I had everything set up, I hit the play button each time I would start on a task then the stop button when I completed the task or became distracted by something else.
If I wasn’t near my computer at the time, I would make a note in my phone of a start and finish time, then enter it into Clockify at the end of the day.
I committed to doing this for just two weeks, to get a good indication of how I was performing. But months later, I continue to track my time daily and make better decisions from the data I see.
what time tracking taught me
By tracking my time, I learned if I was focusing on the right activities to grow my business or not. I became better at delegating tasks to my assistant. And I hired two other part-time consultants to take other things off my plate.
I now spend more than 40% of my time on strategic activities, compared to less than 20% when I was first getting started.
As I got into the rhythm of time tracking, I was quickly able to minimise my distractions.
I don’t want to go and stop the clock. It became easier to tell myself “this distraction can wait until you’ve finished what you’re working on”.
So, I stopped multi-tasking. I now ignore distractions as best as I can, focus on just one task at a time and put my all into that one thing.
Then I move on to the next thing.
By better managing my focus, I am working smarter and get the majority of my work done faster. On average, I now spend 25 hours a week working and don’t keep myself busy on tasks that aren’t growing my business.
I learned that I deserve to be selfish and could allow more time for all those other things that are important to me.
start working smarter
Take the challenge and track your time for the next two weeks. You can use a free app like Clockify or even just use a paper and pen.
Notice what you’re spending it on. Notice how your are managing your focus.
And then come back and let us know in the comments what changes you’ll be making as a results of what you’ve learned.