Take Control of Your Day

“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” Management expert Peter Drucker said this, and I agree. If you’re like most business people, you probably feel there are rarely enough hours in a day – no matter how hard you work – to get things done.

Being distracted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re spending hours watching cat videos or keeping up with friends on Facebook. There are other forces out there that can secretly keep you from being productive. In fact, many of them are work-related:

Choose two times during the day to read and reply to email, and put those times on your calendar. Other than what’s scheduled, turn off your email program so you won’t be tempted.

If you have an assistant, put them in charge of your email, instructing them to forward only what you need to see.

Getting together to work out project details, hear updates, and communicate priorities is a necessary part of doing business. But meetings can quickly get out of hand, or turn into social outings where nothing is accomplished.

Set a time limit and create an agenda for your meeting – and stick to both. If an issue isn’t resolved in the allotted time, assign someone to work on it and report back by a certain date.

I know, the ability to multitask is generally viewed as a valuable skill in the workplace. But the hard, cold truth is few of us do it well. Our brains just can’t handle five things at once for an extended period. In the long run, you end up less focused, stressed out, and less productive.

Start every morning by writing down your goals for the day and prioritizing them. Stick to your list, focusing on one task at a time. If you get distracted, take care of the issue, and go back to your list.

I love my team. They’re a great bunch of people, both in and out of the office. But socializing is one of those things that can get out of hand if you’re not careful.

A study by OfficeTime.net showed 16 percent of those surveyed spend one-to-two hours a day just talking with friends at work. If you’re naturally super-talkative, block out a few minutes on your calendar each day to socialize, and keep to the time limit. If you don’t like to chat it up, do the same. Spending time with your team is an integral part of being a leader.

If you’ll respect your time, you’ll be amazed by how much more you can accomplish – and how profitable that can be!