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Get a Stopwatch — You Need It!

clock-782536_640The most common excuse for not being more productive is saying that you have too much going on.

I’m too busy.” — you often say.  

Am I right?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret — no you aren’t!  

The thing with productivity is that it’s not how much you do, but how you do it. Do you get the most out of the time you have?  Or are you so busy because you fill your day with stuff you don’t really need to be doing.  That’s precious time you could be wasting!

The easiest way to find out is to track your time.

When I started making a note of how I spent my day I had a few surprises. For example, that thing I thought took only five minutes, actually took way longer than that.  It’s never just five minutes in the end.

There are a few apps and techniques to help you track your time. You can find them in the Entrepreneur.com article I wrote on time management.

Also if you want to know more about tracking your time, my friend and fellow author Laura Vanderkam is giving away her time tracking guide for free! Laura’s written several books including What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast and I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time.  If anyone knows how to manage time it’s her!

Track Your Time Challenge

waiting-410328_640Are you wasting precious minutes of your day without even realizing it? Many complain there aren’t enough hours in a day to get things done but it turns out you could be the problem. Gasp! I know!

The issue may not be the amount of time you have but how you’re utilizing it. Staying focused is really important in order to have a productive day.

Distractions are what keep us from reaching our daily goals. Hey- we’re in a society of instant gratification. Just today I had a few spare seconds and I was instantly checking Twitter mindlessly without really even noticing.

I want to challenge you this week to track down where all your spare minutes go.  Here’s a few ideas of how to track that “busy” time:

  • Moment is an app that will track how much you use your iPhone or iPad throughout the day. You can set daily limits and receive notifications once you go over the allotted time.
  • iDoneThis is another great tool to keep track of your day. The app will email you at the end of the day to ask “What did you get done today?”  Stop, reflect, and write about your day just by hitting “reply.” This also works well if you are managing a group.  The next morning, you’ll receive an overview that shows everyone’s accomplishments from yesterday to kick off your day.
  • Rescue Time A web-based service that tracks how much time you spend on tasks. You can also set limits on how long you check emails or update Facebook.
  • Daily Journal –  Write down every single thing you do for an entire day.  This is similar to a food journal where you write out every meal, snack and drink you consume. With a time tracking journal you write out where all your minutes go.  You could also do this in an Excel sheet or in Evernote. Be honest!  This is not a judging contest – it’s a way to get to know your habits better so you can improve your focus.
  • Toggl I just learned about this one at a conference where I was a guest speaker.  It’s a digital way to track all your time.  It makes it easy to capture everything on the go so you don’t forget.

Now that you know what to do – go track those minutes.  I want to hear where you are wasting most of your time – it may surprise you!  Please leave a comment below, a Facebook message or tweet me @Listproducer.  Good luck!

Overwhelmed by Your Email? I Can Help!

emailAccording to this study, on average we send and receive 120 emails at work every day. It’s easy to see how some of us can spend an entire day just replying to emails. So if your feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry, there are several ways to fight back against the email onslaught.

Here are some tips for tackling your email inbox:

Download Boomerang – This Gmail app can help you get your inbox back down to zero. There are several useful features like being able to schedule emails to send at a later date. I love this feature for when I’m up late getting things done but don’t want my email to get lost overnight.  I just schedule it to go out in the morning and off it goes.  This is also a great feature when you want to write emails right away about a subject but don’t want to send them right away.  Let’s say you want to remind someone about a meeting or a conference.  You can write up the email and schedule it to send the day before the event.  That way you get it off your plate and still get the goal accomplished.

You can also set an incoming email to be returned to the top of your inbox at a more relevant time. So if you get an email you don’t need to deal with until tomorrow, Gmail won’t display it in your inbox, until the next day when it’ll appear right on top for you to tackle.  The service is free for up to 10 scheduled emails but after that there are paid packages.

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