Work is like gas, it will expand to fill whatever volume of time you have to do it in. Unless we hold ourselves accountable, there are a variety of methods we will use to facilitate this feat.
- Distractions & Lack of focus
- Make Work
So, what are some of the ways we can defeat this natural tendency and confine work to a reasonable timeframe?
- To combat procrastination, break a larger task up into a series of smaller tasks and set yourself deadlines for completion to save yourself from have a stressful rush at the end. It also helps to keep track of the actual work time you are putting in each day and have accountability around hitting those targets daily.
- Distractions are all around us. Email, messengers, our personal lives, we never lack for things to get in the way of performing focused work and if they don’t find us, we will seek them out. Some effective ways to resist this are to pay attention to what times of the day you typically get your best focused work in and ensure you clear distractions around that time. Emails can wait, don’t schedule phone calls or meetings during that time and decide ahead of time what you are going to accomplish.
- Make work is where we take a simple task or an unnecessary one and turn it into more work so we won’t be bored but neither are we providing a meaningful contribution. Looking at your daily activity and assessing it against your key goals and KPIs is a good practice to help you see whether you are making work for yourself or perhaps simply allowing the urgent to draw you off of what is important.
Need help putting these tips into practice? Sapience builds an intelligent personal assistant that automatically records your work habits and activities making that data accessible to you to help put you in control of your work day. Are there any other problem work habits that you struggle with? Comment below!