You know the feeling: You finally take a breather from grinding out your To Do’s only to realize it’s already 5:30 p.m. And what have you actually gotten accomplished today? Zip, zero, zilch. That’s because the majority of your day was spent dealing with those menial, but still important, day-to-day time-sucking tasks. And it’s time we eliminate them.
For being a “more effective communication tool,” email sure does waste a lot of time during the day. While you may pride yourself in being responsive, having your email open all day kills your productivity because you’ll never be able to give your complete focus to a project.
Regaining control of your email will likely be the biggest lifestyle adjustment for you, especially if you’re connected all the time. The “Getting It Done” (GTD) method is one of the best to do this, and the concept is pretty simple. Check your email only 2-3 times a day, and process every email that comes in with:
- Do It: Answer the email/do the task if it takes less than 2 minutes.
- Delegate it: Send it to someone on your team who can accomplish it.
- Defer it: If it requires some thought, save it for later.
There’s also a host of tools that you can download or purchase to supplement your GTD method. I applaud you if you can get to Inbox Zero. It’s a serious commitment but one that will pay off. Even getting to Inbox 20 would be vast improvement for most.
IT and Support
One of the worst things that can happen to your business is a network outage. It’s also one of the most expensive. Information Week estimated that IT downtime costs businesses $26.5 billion in lost revenue. You could buy more than 30 million new 64GB iPads with that. Now, imagine parlaying even a fraction of that back into your business. Excited yet?
Monitoring your network yourself isn’t your only option. You could house a full-time IT person, but that’s expensive, and frankly, probably more robust than what you actually need. So, what do you do?
- Free or open-source tools: While there are free tools you could use— Six Revisions has a great list — be warned that you are getting what you pay for.
- Purchasing software: Software is a better option than the free tools, but you won’t be saving much time because you’ll be responsible for the actual monitoring.
- Network monitoring service provider: Recommended. You get the ease of 24/7 monitoring without staying up all night. Look for a company that also provides troubleshooting.
Having better time management isn’t something you’ll get right away, even with these tools. It’s an investment and you have to give something to get something. Put in a little time and money now, and your future self will thank you.
SimplifyThis is our pursuit to conquer the complexity of overbearing business processes with the use of technology. We often meet small business owners and other professionals who cannot easily remind their customers of overdue balances or track which invoices they have already sent. Technology is yet to come into play for these businesses. Our online appointment scheduling and invoicing tool help businesses turn time sucks into time savers. Try it for free for yourself.
Erin Everhart is the director of web and social media marketing at 352 Media Group, an Atlanta web design and digital marketing company, where she works closely with iGLASS Networks who provides network monitoring services. Originally from Atlanta but born and bred a University of Florida Gator, Erin is an avid tennis player, music nerd, travel junkie and one of the few people who actually likes grammar.