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Losing Time at Work? Get Back on Track with These Tips

Feb 20, 2019 | 3 minutes
Colleagues with laptops handling project and time management.

“_Time sucks”_ exist everywhere in our daily life. We are constantly being pulled in different directions, distracting us from our tasks at hand. Sometimes this is willingly and sometimes forcefully. 

“Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst” — William Penn.

This statement holds no place truer than in our work lives. We are continually bombarded with distractions due to our incessant link to the online world, causing us to waste our time all over the place. But this isn’t about what is causing us to lose our time but how we can fix it. 

Losing crucial time on work projects can have grave consequences resulting in more than just wasted time but also the loss of the competitive advantage and sales. I know I sound pragmatic about this but don’t mean to. 

These issues usually rise slowly and can be solved quite easily when recognized. All you have to do is return back to time management. Audit your time. See how you are spending it, and it will help you make better work decisions, allocate your time better, and reach your work goals on time. 

So, are you always taking on new side projects but not able to finish the ones you already started? Emergency issues constantly coming up and causing you to take time away from other work? Are you implementing a new direction in your department and deciding who has time to take it on? 

Take a hard look and ask yourself these few questions to recalculate your use of time and not get stuck in the “time suck” trap.

Where are you spending your time?

Whatever the reason for doing a time audit, begin by tracking your time as you currently use it. This will help you see where and how you are currently spending your time, so you can better manage it and your goals. 

Start with these:

  1. Write down your goals (be clear about how and where you want to spend your time).

  2. Begin to track your time by dividing your work into categories that seem appropriate to you. By project, daily responsibilities, or core functions of your position: see how much time you spend on these categories throughout the day, the week or the month.

  3. Adjust as needed. By tracking it, you will begin to see a pattern. Is your time spent matching your goals? If not, adjust how you spend it. After a week or two, you should get some pretty good data on how you spend your time.

I am sure you have an idea of where you spend your time and clues to where the bleeds are, but asking yourself these questions will open up to the real answers or to how deep those time problems are. Doing this will help you reconnect your goals with your time and help you reach them faster. 

**Of course if time is of the essence, take a reflective look at the month past.

How can you track your time?

Now, this part can be as simple as using a pen and paper and writing down the amount of time you spend in each of your determined categories. Or, there are a number of apps designed to help you with this exact problem. 

Apps like Harvest, Toggle, and RescueTime allow you to easily track your time and align them with your goals. Using in-built reporting features or integrating with your favorite reporting tool, you can also create visual reports. 

They will give you a visual representation of where you are spending your time to keep you on track for your loftier goals.

Where can you streamline?

Now that you have a better understanding of where your time goes, and even a visualization, see where you can trim your time and where you can streamline your tasks. 

This could mean a reallocation of duties across your team. Or, it could be implementing parameters to keep you better on task, so you are not losing time by wasting time. In other cases, it could be replacing redundancies or repetitive tasks. 

In the case of replacing redundancies, workflow automation platforms are the answer. They help you speed up processes by doing them automatically for you. They can free up your time so you can better use your capabilities for more important tasks. 

Make, being one of them, can help you automate everything from simple tasks to completing complex workflows to help you save time and money (read how a small business increased its yearly profits through workflow automation). 

By taking the opportunity to reflect on how you are spending your time, it can help you realign your time with your goals. Don’t get stuck in a “time suck” trap. Gain back your time and your goals. 

Try Make for free today!


Jessica Herauf

Partnerships Manager at Make. I like to travel, explore nature, and I love to hear a good story.

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