Are You Noticing The "Time Ticks" In Your Day?
I know, I know. No one likes ticks. I can't remember the last time I was sharing a meal with a friend and they said, "You know, I was just thinking about ticks." Like mosquitoes and the IRS, we want to avoid contact with them at all costs. However, if you work outside in the summer months in various parts of the country, staying alert to their potential presence on your clothes or skin is essential to maintaining good health.
I'm willing to wager that you have some "time ticks" in your day. Small tasks you undertake almost subconsciously but if you would stop and think about them you would realize they are draining more time from your day than necessary. And while the result of allowing these time ticks to stay stuck to your routine is not a life-threatening disease, I think they do rob you of time resources that could be better utilized for more important tasks.
What might these time ticks look like for you? Here are some possible examples:
Managing passwords. While having to spend an extra minute or two finding your username and password may not seem like much, do the math. If it takes an extra 5 minutes per week, that's about 4 hours a year! Consider using an app like DataVault to streamline the process.
Finding electronic files. I'm so guilty of this one. I spend way too much time looking for a file I know I put in a particular place... while the search box sits idly by laughing at me. Even when it comes to finding an email I saved, I need to think of using the search feature first instead of last.
Creating reminders. Still find yourself staring off into the middle distance knowing there was something you were supposed to do? Today's tablets and smartphones have made it so easy to be reminded of something at a particular time. We just have to take the ten seconds to say, "Hey......." remind me..." While you might feel weird talking to your device in this way, it's still a better alternative than wasting time trying to retrace your physical and mental steps to see what you might have forgotten.
One-on-one meetings. A couple weeks ago I wrote about those "quick chats" you have with your boss or coworkers and how to make the most of that time. Having 2-3 planned questions to ask always yields better results than just allowing the conversation to wander aimlessly.
The key to removing these time ticks is to first notice them. Some key questions to ask to discover what might need to change include:
- What tasks take longer than they should?
- What tasks are hard because I don't use a clear and/or consistent process?
- Where could I gain 5 minutes in my day by doing something more efficiently?
- What tasks am I doing the hard way just because I am too _________________ (insert "afraid, "lazy," or "busy") to change?
And while your checking yourself for these work ticks, don't forget to look at how you tackle tasks away from work. From how you handle meal planning and evening routines to home projects and exercise, there's a proverbial army of ticks just waiting to crawl onto your schedule.
Where are the time ticks draining resources from your day?
For More Related To This Topic:
The "er" Of Time Management
Five Keys To Experiencing Extreme Personal Productivity (Free online course)