Another week is coming to an end, and if you are like most business owners out there your to-do list is still pretty full and you are running on empty. You may wonder "where did the time go?" You got up every morning and went to the office, put in a solid eight to ten hours of work, came home and went to bed. But yet, you didn't accomplish what you wanted to this week. Why?
Chances are you have fallen prey to one ...two...maybe even all of the following time addictions.
1. Email: Most business owners would agree that email is a major impediment to their creating real value for their business, but most of them would also cling to the belief that they "don't have a choice", they have to keep on top of it.
But when you see it for what it is, an addiction, you can relate to it differently. You don't control an addiction through willpower, you put the power of environment, insight, and habit to work to help you do it. So set hard and fast guidelines about how much time you will and won't spend in your inbox. Imagine what would happen to your to-do list if you set aside time each day to work uninterrupted.
2. TV. Whether you're watching it on your 70 inch TV or your 7 inch tablet, mindless TV still holds a spot as a time addiction that robs business owners of hours each week. Time that could be invested in reading a book, enjoying your family, or even getting a better night's sleep. Many business owners work sixty to seventy hours a week, so the time that you do spend at home shouldn't be in front of another screen. Unplug and recharge.
3. Social Media. Now social media serves a real purpose for some businesses, too often it can take on too much of a place in the business owner's attention, costing your flow and larger blocks of time when you could have been creating real value for your company.
Remember, the real cost of a quick check or post on social media isn't the 5 minutes it took, it's the 15-30 minutes it now takes you to get back in the flow of what you were doing before you got lured away. And for many of us, a quick check turns into mindless scrolling which can lead to even more time wasted.
Ok, David, so what's the solution? If you find yourself spending too much time in your inbox, your phone or your television the easiest way to rid yourself of the negative behavior is to change your environment so your prime time addiction is less visible or accessible. For instance you could turn off your wireless router for the first 2 hours of the day while you did your most valuable work. You could work remotely twice a week for 4 hours from a place without email. You could leave your tablet downstairs so you get a good night's sleep versus feeling tempted to roll over and start a new season of your favorite show at 11:30pm. Or you could turn your phone off while at home or at the office.
So What Can You Do About These Time Addictions?
Change your environment so your prime Time Addiction is less visible or accessible. For instance you could turn off your wireless router for the first 2 hours of the day while you did your most valuable work. You could work remotely twice a week for 4 hours from a place without email. You could leave your tablet downstairs so you get a good night's sleep versus feeling tempted to roll over and start a new season of your favorite show at 11:30pm.
Talk over one of your Time Addictions with a business owner peer whom you trust and ask them to be your accountability partner in helping you make a needed change. Make sure you get deep into the cost of your Time Addiction-on your company, your family, your team, your health, etc.
Consciously design a new habit that will replace your old addictive behavior. Ask yourself what your old habit gave you, and make sure your new habit serves that same need, but in a much healthier and more productive way.
Consider creating "blocks" of time (1-4 hours) during which you will block out the carrier of your time addiction. If you struggle with email, then during your "blocks" of time, don't let in a device that can check email, or turn off your internet/celluler access. If you struggle with the need for deadlines to prompt you into action, then carve out regular time in which you do things well in advance of the deadline.