Easy Productivity Tricks You Should Already Know
For office workers and freelancers alike, there are hundreds maybe even thousands of distractions we have to deal with every single day. How is it then, that we are supposed to get anything done let alone make money drafting from home or in a noisy office setting? Well I’m going to show you how, in this post I’ll explain to you the most common distractions and show you easy and almost all free ways to fix them.
Both locations (home freelancer/office worker) have their fair share of distractions, benefits, and winning qualities. The common factor in either though, is Us. An AutoCAD professional. Whether freelancer or an Office CAD user we are all distractable. And yet we hardly do anything to keep our selves focused on the task at hand. It’s precisely this reason why all too often we have a day or even multiple days when you just feel like nothing go done, no progress seemed to get made even though an entire day passed.
The Numbers Don’t Lie:
In pointing out some of my major distractions and showing you how I’ve solved them, I hope to save each and every reader at least an hour or two a week. Just think what you can do with a couple of extra hours each week, that’s 104 hours in a year, that’s just about 4 and a half days each year that can be recovered. You could take 4 more days holidays, or make 4 days more pay, just by making some minor adjustments. These numbers are even on the safe side, I’ve managed to gain a minimum of an hour per day by making these changes, I won’t go over that math as well but if your interested it’s just about 11 days/yr. Crazy I know.
Lets get started with the most common distraction.
Stop Checking Your Email!
Email is by far the most time-consuming and annoying part of my day, just checking my email takes 2 -5 minutes each time and that’s if I didn’t even get an email. What about when you have to reply to one, especially when its something that didn’t really need a response or could have been answered in a 10 second phone call. Or even worse starting to read and reply to email first thing in the morning only to just be finishing at 10:30 with most of your morning wasted. Talk about Frustrating. That is about all I will say about email, it really is the bane of my existence and yet I rely on it so heavily as a freelancer and even more when I’m working in an office.
But I Can’t just Stop Reading My Email?
If you’re like me and let’s face it you probably are, you are simply not going to be able to put an autoresponder in place that simply says
Thank you for your email, while it was greatly appreciated and I wish I could personally read it and reply. I simply get too many to be able to respond to them all and still have time get any work done, I hope you will understand and forgive me. If there is a very time sensitive issue, you would like to speak about working with me or need consulting work done you can leave a message for me at this number (555-555-555) and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Thank you for your understanding and have a great day.
If you think this email could work for you, then congratulations you are much more organized than me when it comes to email. Feel free to copy my example and your done.
For the rest of us I have a few simple rules, follow them and I guarantee you will save more time than you can imagine.
- Turn off your email alerts! (this means no push email on your phone, don’t be logged into gmail on your browser, and certainly NO outlook alerts!)
- Do not check you mail in the morning; it leads to wasted time and the possibility of too many back and forth emails in a day
- Never leave an email with open-ended questions, always offer a solution and a second or third option if possible to prevent further emails and pointless back and forth
- Limit your email checking to 3 times a day. Set these times and stick to them, you can even tell people this in an autoresponse (see below). I recommend 10am, 2pm and just before the end of the day 4 or 5 depending on your hours. At these times you can read your emails but only send responses at the 10am and 4-5pm times. And only to the most important and time sensitive.
(For the Autoresponse) You can set up an autoreply for your email that outlines when you will be checking your email and that you will get back to them when you can, but you are limiting your email time to be more productive and give a better value to your clients.
Why are You Still Surfing the Internet!
This one is a major time waster, it may seem innocent enough at first but trust me. You can easily eat up hours of productive work time. You’ve got to get in the mindset that work time is for working only.
Surfing the net is fine once you’ve finished your work for the day but don’t let it become a distraction when your motivated and ready to get things done. A harmless trip to your favorite news site can turn into just a quick facebooking, then a couple of blog posts you’ve meant to read. Before you know it, nothing’s done and it’s coffee time already.
To stop yourself and take things out of your own hands I have a simple recommendation. Install and use a website blocking plugin/program. I personally suggest either Rescue Time or Leech Block both of these apps will help you by limiting or not allowing you to visit sites that you tell them are you time waster. These handy little apps can save you hours just on their own!
I know this post is getting long but if you just stick with me I know you’ll thank me later;)
Limiting Workspace Distractions
I lump in a few things with workspace distractions, I’ll go over some of my most common ones and what I’ve done to limit or remove the distraction completely.
Cell Phones: This one is pretty straight forward, cell phones, especially personal ones are distracting. Simply turn them off leave them in your jacket or another room during work hours and you will be surprised how easy it is to ignore those texts from your friends that don’t need a response right away. If you really need to check it, only check during the email times mentioned above and turn it off in between.
Misc Noises/Visual Distractions:Noise and visual distractions can be hard to fix. They really depend on your situation. I’ve found the best solution for noise is to wear in ear headphones. They can really be a life saver, not only do they block out most noise you can also catch up on your favorite music. And even better, you can listen to audio books about business, freelance, or another subject your interested in. If you haven’t read/listened to Crush It by Gary V. I highly recommend it, great book about getting things done, doing what you love and general great life tips. (I know most people have read it, but I recently listened to the audiobook after reading it a few years ago)
Or best yet, keep up with the freelance lifestyle podcast.
For visual distraction, I have two solutions. One, position your monitors where nothing will be happening behind them (ie movement of people or windows) and preferably nothing in your peripheral vision either. Two, if you don’t have monitors plural, get another monitor. Two monitors not only keeps you focused on your screen, they alos massively increase ease of you and productivity in most software especially autocad.
My personal pick for monitor setup is two 24-inch Asus gems!
Set Goals! Sheesh
A quick and easy tip for my last point. At the end of each work day, write down 2 goals for the next day that would make you feel like you accomplished something significant. There should only be 2, maybe occasionally 3 but they need to be attainable in one day. They shouldn’t be overly larger or vague, try to break down a project into multiple goals for projects that can’t be finished in a single day.
By doing this you will keep yourself focused on smaller and attainable goals and give a positive feeling of accomplishment each day when you finish your two goals.
To go along with this I also keep a separate list of everything I’m working on and have to finish eventually. That way if you finish a goal early you can start on your next one
How Much Time Can You Save?
I’d honestly like to thank you, my reader for sticking with me and hopefully learning some great tips with me along the way. I know this was a longer post than I typically write but I feel it was worth it and hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing .
I would love to hear about any techniques or tips you may have, and if you have any success with mine please leave a comment and let me know.