I am a founder and blogger at Costofincome.com, where I write about online business and digital marketing tools.
You are reading this because of one of two reasons. Either you want to be more productive, or you are looking for all that time that you lose during the day. You woke up early, worked all day and it still seems that your code or project did not move anywhere.
Let's have a look at some of the reasons why this is happening and what to do about it.
Does it seem that you are working all day every day? Try a service like Clockify. Measure precisely when you are working on a task, and stop the timer when you got distracted.
You will be amazed to discover that those 10 hours a day that you are putting in, are in reality 4 hours of actual work.
Do this every day for a week and you will discover that a lot of your time doesn't just go somewhere. When you are tracking yourself it seems that you are working for 20%, 30% or 40% of the time only.
A lot of people think that if they talk to you for 2 minutes - nothing is happening right? It is just 2 minutes.
That is not true at all. In coding or any other project - you have to be in that data-flow-zone to remember what is where and what is your next task. Fully immerse yourself in the task at hand and concentrate.
If you have a meeting, in 15 minutes a call, then somebody asks you something, your concentration is constantly being broken.
Eliminate any disturbing inputs that are coming from your environment. For example, use an ambient mixer. Choose a background noise (or their combination) and focus on the task at hand.
Continuing on the elimination of distraction, if you are not a fan of noises like waterfalls and chatter go for music. It really helps. But not just any music. A great place to give this tip a shot is Lofi Hip Hop radio on Youtube. It has nice chill music that will keep you focused while not distracting you with various strong tones or signing.
You can also convert stuff from Youtube to mp3 and listen on your headphones without drawing on your mobile data.
If you have 1 mega task, it will take you a long time to complete it as opposed to if you had subtasks that you can complete more quickly.
It creates a perception that you are actually moving forward each day and soon you will be able to finish it. Tasks that might have seen impossible, are suddenly done. Step by step, subtask by subtask.
This sounds silly but it works. From time to time everybody needs some motivation to keep you going. Some goals may seem too far away, you are facing failure and obstacles and you're not feeling like you can do it. You need to recharge, change your perspective.
Motivational videos on Youtube help (that is why they are so popular) or inspirational quotes can be a quick fix. There is a comfort to be found in them as they allow you to realize that you are not first going through tough times and definitely not the last.
For me, mornings are when I can do a lot of creative work and research, afternoons are usually for mundane tasks like content work. Evenings are for even more mindless tasks like contact research or going through the list of leads separating good ones from the bad ones. I can not do a lot of creative work in the evenings.
Take note of when is the best time for the tasks that you need to do. Maybe you can concentrate really well in the mornings, so do not waste that time on answering emails, use this to focus on the essential task for that day and get it done.
One of the main leadership qualities is the ability to concentrate on the tasks that matter the most and only you can do them.
Outsource and delegate to others everything that is not your direct responsibility and does not require your personal care.
If you are in a junior position it might be more difficult as you are the one everybody delegates to. Check if there is something that you can outsource in your life to make more time for side-projects and hobbies.
Most importantly, stay consistent. No matter what you do, just stay at it and make sure that even if you got distracted for a second - you get back on the task.
With these small incremental steps, you will be able to complete huge goals only to wonder how you managed to do it afterwards!
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