Time is Money

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Today’s guest post comes to us from Les Roberts. Enjoy! 

Time is Money

“Procrastination is the thief of time” or so the old saying goes, but there is a new kid on the block and browsing online could be the new thief of time!
As anyone that works in an online environment will testify to, aimlessly browsing online can be a huge drain on productivity and can seriously eat into the hours that are meant to be spent working.
So whether it’s sports news, shopping, or social networking that keeps you from fulfilling your daily targets, follow these simple steps to curb that appetite for distraction.
Take out the timewasters

Before you can stop wasting time online, you need to examine your surfing habits and work out what sites are eating into your productivity.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the sites that you spend the most time on, rather those sites that you spend time on without them contributing to your productivity.
So, if a lot of your time online is spent window shopping or sorting out your plans for the weekend, then you will have to cut the online shops and social media sites from your daily routine. If you while away the hours gaming or reading up on this year’s best holiday destinations, then the gaming and travel sites will have to go.
A good way to start this process is to keep a log of exactly how you spend your working day, taking note of the number of breaks you take, which sites you visit, and how long you spend on each site. You can then make any necessary changes accordingly.
Changing your browsing habits will require a great deal of willpower, and it will seem like any fun is being taken from your working day. But, it is a vital step in eliminating time wasting and increasing productivity.
Time your tasks and targets

There are some work days when you find yourself jumping from one task to another without actually giving any one task your full attention. When this happens, you can easily reach the end of the day without actually finishing a thing that you set out to do!
A good way to avoid this is to take time out at the start of each day, or at the start of each week, and write out a work schedule.
The schedule should break down each day into task specific sections that are each given a certain amount of time to be completed. At this point, it’s worth noting that you are better off overestimating how long each task will take, as underestimating can lead to a backlog of work which can be demoralizing and may cause you to abandon your schedule.
This will help eliminate any time wasting tendencies as it will give a clear indication of exactly when and where you need to focus your attention and how far through your workload you should be at any given point of the day. And, because the schedule is time specific, you need to ensure that you factor in break times and any time taken to respond to emails and phone calls.
It may also be a good idea to keep a timer on your desk that counts down how long you have left for each particular task as this time pressure may help you to focus on the job in hand.
Separate social media from social planning

Social networking can be a great marketing tool, as it can enable you to interact with your target market, keep abreast of market trends, and if you have a website to promote, it can boost traffic to your site.

But, social media sites can also have a massive effect on productivity, so you need to keep the boundaries clear and avoid using work time to make plans for your free time.

Another good strategy to build your online presence is to comment on articles in your particular field. But, if you do adopt this technique, it’s vital that you don’t get dragged into any online arguments as this can easily take your focus away from your work.

Take a break

This last piece of advice may appear to contradict the advice that has gone before it, but you should try to make sure that you don’t spend your entire day sitting behind your computer screen.

The standard recommendation is that you should take a break from your screen every 45 minutes. This is not a break from your work, just a break from your computer. So, it’s not just a case of opening a new web browser to check the latest sports news, you should physically step away from your desk.

As well as having health benefits, the act of sitting in front of a screen all day can be detrimental to your well being, the actual act of concentrating on another task, even just stretching your legs, can help to refocus your mind.

They are just a few steps that you can take to decrease the distractions and pep up your productivity, and it’s worth bearing in mind that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.

But, if you can find a technique that increases your efficiency then you could well find that you free up more time to do the things you really want.

How about you all? Where in your day do you find yourself wasting the most time? What steps do you take to make sure you stay on target? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • @ Social media websites that distract from efficiency – For my generation, perhaps the biggest time-spending black hole is Facebook. Many times, I find myself going to Facebook between tasks. However, my time would most likely be spent elsewhere.
  • @ Spending too much time on email – Another enormous “time-suck” for people in today’s age is email. In a book that I read recently, it is estimated that people spend an average of 2 hours on their email each day. This is truly amazing! I admit that I need to do a better job of spending less time on email as well!
  • @ How to reach the end of the day and accomplish what you wanted to – I read recently somewhere that a good way to ensure a feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day is to make a mental agreement with yourself twice a day – 1) When you get in to the office in the morning, agree with yourself what you will feel good about getting done with that day, and then 2) at lunch time, reassess where you are and if that goal is still reasonable. This way, you hold yourself accountable for what you get done, and will be more likely to stay on target.
  • @ Taking a break from your computer screen – This is something that I am a strong believer in. When I am blogging and am having to spend many hours in front of the computer screen, I often find myself feeling zoned out and in a sort of trance. Taking a break and even reading something away from my screen will help get me “back to the real world.” 

***Photo courtesy of http://www.timeforresults.com/images/TimeIsMoney.png


  1. if you are talking about surfing the net during working hours, then you don't have to keep track of how much you surf and when to take a break. Lunch time and coffee breaks are fine when you surf during those times. Other times, you are stealing time away from your employer and that's bad, dishonest and outright outrageous.

    Stealing time from the employer is as bad and dishonest as other kinds of stealing. You don't keep track of your time surfing during working hours. You just don't do it, period.

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