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Prime Time – 5 Hacks to Win Back Precious Wasted Time in the Workplace

Do you ever feel like you’re caught in an existential trap designed to keep you constantly busy, yet never able to achieve as much as you need to? If this sounds familiar, you’re likely allowing time to be stolen from you by sneaky little everyday activities that seem harmless until you assess how great their impact in fact is. Read on to discover what you can do to remedy this issue and put your valuable time to better use:

5 Hacks To Win Back Precious Time Wasted In The Workplace

1. Automate

Investing a chunk of time now into assessing all your business processes and determining which ones can be automated will gift you with an astonishing ROI in the future. There are programs available for almost any business operation you can think of – from freight management software to automated bookkeeping and accounting suites, right through to advanced chatbots– each one designed to free up time for you and your staff, allowing you to focus on more revenue-driven activities. 

2. Dial Down the Notifications

While most people can’t get away with completely shutting down their phones while at work – you need to be contactable in an emergency after all – it is important to cut back as much as possible on the incessant distraction of notifications. While a glance at your phone mid-task can seem innocuous, these attention disruptors stop you from getting into a state of flow with your work keeping your brain so perpetually distracted that this lack of attentiveness can turn into your default setting. The simplest fix for this is to turn off all non-essential notifications. That way you know if you get a notification, it’s important enough to warrant your attention. 

Workplace

3. Batch Tasks

Now that you’ve managed your notifications to ensure only the urgent stuff can interrupt you, you’ll need to set aside key points in the day where you check and respond to everything else. Tackling notifications in this way allows you to be more thorough in your responses. Never again will you be struck with the awful realization that you let an important email slip through the cracks because you checked it in the middle of doing something else, decided to respond later, but then forgot about it altogether. 

4. Reassess Meetings

While meetings may be vital for your business, they can often devolve into time-suckers filled with redundant conversation that isn’t adding value. To avoid this, cut your allotted meeting times down by a quarter and let staff know that all matters need to be covered within this time frame. This way, all the essentials can be hit, and the unnecessary discussions cut away. 

A simple switch to stand-up meetings can boost the efficacy of this tactic. People tend to get a bit too comfortable when seated. Whereas, if staff are on their feet, they’re more inclined to get to the point, meaning the meeting will move along at a snappier pace.

5. Outsource 

While it’s understandable to want to oversee everything in your business, the longer you keep this up, the more overloaded you will become. There are bound to be tasks you’re currently carrying out that could be outsourced to a skilled professional. Examples include IT supportweb marketing and numerous others. You’d be surprised at how cost-effective this can be, and at how much extra value you can squeeze from your time by freeing yourself from these tasks.

At times, we can all feel like we’re drowning in a see of professional requirements. However, with a few small changes, you radically alter your work life to find more time for the tasks that matter most.

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Lynne Huysamen

Mommy to a pigeon pair, blogger and online marketer. Lover of chocolate, good books and buckets of coffee.

4 Comments

  1. Hello Lynne, you give some great idea on how to spare my time. I was thinking about outsourcing as I am primarily focused on content marketing but honestly, I don’t know if there any training that can teach you about outsourcing. I even tried to find someone on Fiverr but all those people seem like they don’t know to do things as I want it.

    • Hi Daniel

      Yes outsourcing is often easier said than done, especially when you are looking at people on marketplaces like Fiverr. I have found a few people that offered great services but in general I struggle to find the right people. Perhaps ask for a recommendation from your friends and colleagues for someone that is able to do the work that you need?

  2. Great tips, Lynne.

    I am in total agreement with your way of dealing with these time-wasters, although I could easily get attached to the “time-suckers” expression. 

    I love your stand-up technique for meetings. It would be hard to pick a winner here. Meetings, email, social media, ahhhhhh!

    What did people do in the old days?

    Outsourcing and delegating are other good ways to help getting through the day.

    It all boils down to who is controlling your life!

    Which one of these “pests” do you find the most disruptive to work-flow?

    Which one is the hardest to control?

    Paul

    • My biggest challenge is stopping multitasking and focusing on only one thing or batch of things. I get so distracted and suddenly find that I have 20 windows open in my browser and I am busy with completing loads of things at once. It is important for me to focus on one thing at a time. 

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