Why Pareto 80/20 Law Can Skyrocket Your Productivity

Pareto Law 80 20

The 80/20 principle is also known as the ‘Pareto Law’ and is one of my favorite tools. You can apply it in all areas of your life and I guarantee you will get amazing results.

You may already know about it, but are you really applying it to the max?

What Is the Pareto Law 80 20 Principle?

The 80/20 rule, also known as the “Pareto Law,” states that 80% of the results are determined by 20% of your actions. It has a lot of variations, like 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your profit and so on.

Of course, the percentages are relative, but the principle holds true in the vast majority of cases. The main idea is that a small part of what you do is responsible for the largest part of the outcome.

If you think about this from a time management perspective, the implications are huge. Not only that you can achieve what you currently do in far less time, but you can achieve significantly more in less time.

Most people are familiar with this principle and apply it to some degree. However, the real secret is to apply it in a big way, consistently. Then you will enjoy massive benefits.

How Society Leads You in the Wrong Direction

Nowadays the pace of life is really crazy. So many commitments, so many items on your to-do list, just to get-by. And if you are trying to achieve something above average, then you really need to hustle. You need to work harder, to dedicate more time, to push and rush and do more.

Well, this doesn’t sound right… But there are good news! You can break free from this endless chain on fighting your way through life. It’s possible to get outstanding results via taking action in a smarter way.

How Your Current Behavior Is Preventing You to From Making the Most of Pareto Law

I will share with you my story. While I’m big on prioritization, I’ve always had strong perfectionistic tendencies. This means that I used to spent a lot of time double-checking and fine-tuning everything I was doing. This approach has a huge compound effect and is exactly the opposite of the 80/20 principle.

All things are not created equal! While it is perfectly OK to spend a lot of time on critical projects, you should treat the menial tasks for example differently.

Are you sabotaging yourself, as well?

How to Put the 80/20 Pareto Law into Action

The theory is all good but you will only reap the rewards if you put this law into practice.

There are 2 separate elements that we need to take into account, when thinking about the Pareto Law:

  • One is choosing to dedicate time to taking the right actions. In other words, you need to give priority to the projects that bring you the highest returns.
  • Secondly, you need to pay attention to how you spend your time and energy while taking those (well chosen) actions.

Here are 7 tips to help with putting the 80/20 rule into action:

  1. Determine “your 20%” that you are trying to achieve. Yes there is a little homework that you need to do. You first need to identify what is important in your life. What are the big goals that you are trying to achieve?
  2. Assess how you are currently spending your time and energy. Funny enough, you may discover that in reality, your time and energy goes largely into dealing with a lot of small actions that demand your urgent attention.
  3. For each of the important goals that you identified, try to determine what are the 20% of actions that drive the highest returns. In some cases this is not obvious and you can only find the answer via looking into historic results or via trial and error.
  4. Try to maximize the time you spend on “your 20%” everyday. This is more challenging as it may sound, as there are always distractions and urgent demands on your time. You need to make a conscious effort to succeed at this. And you need to be consistent.
  5. Evaluate your progress regularly and reignite your motivation to progressively skew more and more of your time and energy towards the most rewarding activities.

Pareto Law 80 20 Examples

Let’s take a look at a couple of pareto law examples to illustrate the point.

Suppose you intend to get six-pack abs. This is quite challenging and say you develop a plan that includes diet, gym, running, attending fitness lectures, regularly meeting like-minded folks to keep the energy level up and so on.

You need to dedicate a lot of time and energy to cover all these items on your to-do list on a regular basis. Not to mention the fact that you will have a lot of other entries in your agenda.

In this case, I happen to know that more than 80% of your results come from keeping the right diet. Yes, it’s not about hours and hours of cardio exercises and about hundreds of crunches. The key element to focus on is the diet.

If you place the same level of importance on all the elements in your plan, you are less likely to succeed than if you focus to be flawless with your diet.

Let’s also take an example from business, although it applies in any field. Say that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.

A common approach is to dedicate the same time and resources to serve each client.

A much smarter approach is to develop a strategy and plans to better serve the 20% of your clients who are responsible for most of your business.

You can invest more in delivering a top-notch quality service that drives up loyalty. Or maybe serve them via addressing a top concern they have and drive thus the total customer revenue for your business up. The possibilities are endless. You may spend the same resources, but get much, much more in return.

Final Words

Don’t aim to apply this new approach perfectly, from the get-go. To fully capitalize on the 80/20 principle you need to change habits and this takes time.

However, via taking consistent action regularly, you will definitely start to see results. Just keep at it, as the rewards are truly massive!

Images: Sleepy Valley

Email Productivity Tips

10 Email Productivity Tips That Rock

Email Productivity TipsEmail takes up a large part of our time. It was supposed to be the most useful productivity tool. For most of us though, it has turned into major time drain. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Let’s explore the best email productivity tips that can help manage this beast effectively.

Email Productivity Tips

      1. Establish set hours for dealing with email. This helps avoid the number one mistake when it comes to email productivity. More specifically, the regular approach is to be connected to email all the time. This means that you open up to an endless stream of interruptions that dramatically lower your productivity in everything you do. You may not have full freedom to implement this tip. In such a case, try at least to set time intervals in which you don’t read email, but focus 100% on advancing important projects. An easy way to do this is to book a meeting with yourself. Treat it as seriously as an important meeting with others and don’t check emails until after the “meeting”.
      2. Cut on unnecessary email reading. Clean-up your newsletters subscriptions, ask to be removed from groups that are not relevant to you anymore, ask people not to “copy” you when it’s not necessary. And don’t spend time on emails you identify as useless.
      3. Pick up the phone or set up a meeting if this is better suited in your situation. When you deal with a very complex project, issues involving several parties or sensitive topics, it may be better to talk directly to people. If this is the case, pick up the phone or set up a meeting.
      4. Keep your messages clear, concise and to the point. I’m sure you witnessed those never-ending chains of emails and those very long messages some people send. A lot of times, this is a tell sign that a phone call or a meeting is a better idea. In order to use email efficiently, you need to be concise.
      5. Set-up rules and filters. Depending on the way you use email, this can be a huge time-saver. You can for example set all newsletters from a website to go to a certain folder, without showing-up in your inbox anymore. In this way you un-clutter your inbox and you can go through the messages in the respective folder whenever it is a convenient time for you.

    1. Apply the 80/20 Rule. Treat email differently, via giving more attention to the 20% most important ones. This approach should be aligned with the higher-level prioritization you apply in your life. Focus on the 20% of actions, clients, projects that bring you the most benefits, satisfaction, happiness.
    2. Escape the pressure to react immediately. It is easy to get caught into the urgency trap. You know how it is. You are doing something and you see a notification about an email coming. You then feel compelled to answer immediately. Unless it’s something really urgent though, you don’t have to. You can definitely aim to answer within a few hours to the messages that are related to the most important areas in your life/business. However, take a more relaxed approach in terms of urgency with the others.
    3. Don’t write emails when you are very upset. It is never a good idea to write messages when you are very upset. You may regret later what you have written. Instead of addressing the core issue effectively, you may complicate unnecessarily the situation.
    4. Write an email in one go. If you don’t think you have the time to write and finish an email, don’t start it. You will lose more time to start writing it, interrupt and then start over. If you can answer the email in less than a minute do it on the spot. Otherwise, initiate your reply only if you have the time to write it.
    5. Set limits! E-mail can take over your life and you don’t want that. Since the stream of emails is continuous, the only way to achieve that is to set limits and observe them. Don’t stay connected to your inbox 24/7. Establish priorities, limits and manage the email on your terms!

Apply the tips above and related to this, check out also my post with tips on how to manage interruptions effectively and take control of your time.

Photo by: Sean MacEntee

How To Simplify Your Life

How to Simplify Your Life

How To Simplify Your Life

Simplify Your Work Life

How much time do you spend working? Quite a lot, right? This is an area in which you can benefit massively from embracing simplification.

  1. Become a prioritization fanatic. Prioritization is such a buzz word. However, very few people apply it really well. Do yourself a big favor and apply the Pareto Law in everything you do at work. This will take out of your to-do list a lot of non-essential stuff.
  2. Take a week to hunt for simplification opportunities. The problem is that people get so used to doing something in a certain way, that they stop looking for simplification opportunities. However, you will benefit a lot if you take a week to ask yourself every time you do something if it can be done more efficiently. Focus mostly on the actions you take regularly.
  3. Build productive relationships across the organization. A lot of time is spent in all organizations with office politics games. Do your job exceptionally well and build productive relationships and this will simplify your life a lot. Of course you can’t completely avoid being dragged into such games, but this approach goes a long way.
  4. Clear your calendar. If there’s no space anymore to squeeze meeting after meeting into your calendar, it’s time to stop. Be ruthless in making your choices, so that you are able to avoid over-commitment. If your presence doesn’t add significant value to a meeting, decline the invitation. Review all your regular time commitments and cut everything that is not essential.
  5. Learn to say “No”. This is a key skill to master if you are interested into how to simplify your life, both on a personal and a professional level. There are simply too many demands on our time. Not only you should not over-commit, but you need to allow for buffer time for unexpected actions you need to take. The only way to achieve this is to say “no” to everything that doesn’t pass the 80/20 test.

Simplify Your Relationships

We are social beings, and we are part of a complex social networks, online and offline. Given the many communication channels, it’s easy to get lost into the craze of staying “connected” 24/7.

Ironically, although we spend more time communicating with others, the quality of the time we spend together has gone down. Take a look around you. You will see family gatherings, dates, various meetings in which people are checking their phones all the time, instead of focusing on having a good quality communication with each other.

Here are a few tips to simplify relationships in your life:

  1. Make sure the bulk of your time is spent with the people most important to you. We interact with hundreds of people, so it’s impossible to dedicate equal time and attention to everyone. Make a list with the people that are really important in your life. Then make sure you dedicate enough time to them. And make it a quality time.
  2. Don’t hurry to become best friends with everybody. Having friends is great and we all know the value of true friendship. At the same time, cherishing a relationship takes time. So don’t jump into building new relationships at the expense of neglecting your current ones. Remember point 1 above.
  3. Minimize contact with people who fill you up with negative energy. Life is too short to spend it with people who have a negative impact on the way you feel. Sometimes you can’t cut-off completely such people from your life. Some of them may even be part of your family. However, try to minimize the time you spend with them.
  4. Cut on your social media time. Facebook, Twitter and all the social media tools are great up to a point. You can easily stay in-touch with people in your network. However, they are also terrible time sinks. You need to set limits. If you stay connected and check your messages all the time, you’ll waste a huge amount of time. How about checking your Facebook account three times per day? I know it may sound impossible, but do you think the world will crash if you do that? Try it for a week!
  5. Be direct. The most simple approach to effective communication is to be direct. If you want to know something, ask. If you want to go out with someone, invite. If you like or don’t like something, say it. We sometimes unnecessarily complicate our lives via engaging into complicated games. No need to do this. Keep things simple.
  6. Handle conflicts assertively. A lot of the relationship triggered stress is generated by conflicts. You can’t avoid disagreements, but you can control the way you react to them. The most effective way is to be neither passive or aggressive, but assertive. Fight for your own rights, while observing the rights of others. Even if the other party is aggressive, always search for a win-win solution.

Simplify Your Home Environment

Here are a few practical tips to simplify your home environment:

  1. De-clutter. Get rid of everything you don’t use anymore and you don’t remember why it’s there for. Over the years, we accumulate lots of stuff. You don’t need a large part of it anymore, so make it disappear. It’s not only about the physical space, but also about the mental space. You will feel so relieved after performing such an action. Set aside a weekend for a big simplification push or dedicate one hour a day to this action, until you complete it.
  2. Review your wardrobe. Go through your wardrobe and throw away everything you didn’t wear in the past year. It is very unlikely that you will wear those items, despite your tendency to keep all the clothes, just in case.
  3. Automate and outsource. Automate bills payment, get help and outsource services such as cleaning, in order to simplify your schedule and free up time for yourself.
  4. Own less. This tip is the brother of the “buy less” and “de-clutter” tips. Less possessions, less things to worry about. This is one of the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.
  5. Try living without a car. Depending on your specific situation, this may not apply to you, but why not consider living without a car? You would get rid of so many problems and worries.

How to Simplify Your Financial Life

Money related stress is big on the agenda, so it is worth assessing what is your status in this area. The ideas below may be a good starting point:

  1. Make a plan to get rid of debt. The debt pressure is very stressful. Imagine the relief you would feel if you were debt-free. If you are already debt-free, congratulations! If not, make a plan to get rid of debt. It is not easy and it will not happen overnight. But if you make it an objective to become debt-free and if you take consistent action in this direction, you will succeed.
  2. Don’t live beyond your means. Even if you make very large amounts of money, if you spend even more, you are complicating your life unnecessarily. If you don’t earn enough, find a solution to generate the minimum income that allows you to live at a decent level.
  3. Buy less. This is related to the previous point, but it’s not the same thing. Even if you can easily afford buying a lot of things, don’t do it. Owning lots and lots of things complicates life. You need to insure them, maintain them, take care of them. The consumerism society continuously pushes you to buy more and more things but you don’t really need them. Next time you take your credit card out, ask yourself if you really need to use it.
  4. Keep your investment strategy simple. Your wealth should not be a never-ending source of worries. In terms of investments, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Your portfolio will of course reflect your tolerance for risk. In any case though, it is recommended to go for a balanced portfolio and to find ways to simplify the management. Is it worth it to go for higher return, but also higher stress? In the end it’s your decision, but make it a conscious choice.
  5. Pursue financial freedom via developing passive income streams. This is not for everyone and short term it may mean that you actually need to work more and complicate your life further. But mid-long term, achieving passive income will simplify your financial life massively.

Photo By: Paul L. Dineen

Time Management for College

Time Management for Students

Time Management for College

If you are looking for time management tips for students, you are in the right place. When you are a student you feel like you should have at least 36 hours squeezed into each day. There is so much to do!

In order to deal effectively with the conflicting priorities and achieve your goals, you need to have a good time management approach. Put into practice the 16 tips below and you will skyrocket your productivity.

Time Management for College

  1. Start with a helicopter view of your semester. In order to make the most of your time, you first need to start with the big picture. There’s no need to plan all the details long term, but put down the scheduled exams, projects, papers, presentations and all the other fixed commitments. Some of these will require several stages of preparation, so work that out backwards and records the intermediary steps, as well.
  2. Write down everything in one place. Firstly, capturing everything will ease off the pressure you feel when trying to keep track of lots of stuff in your head. Moreover, you will for sure forget and miss important elements if you rely solely on your memory. Secondly, keep everything in one place only. If you have your entries spread across several places, you will lose a lot of time searching for them.
  3. Set your goals for the semester. When you lack direction you achieve far less than when you are very clear on what your objectives are. So take some time to think what are your objectives for the semester. Don’t set too many, as you will dilute your focus and achieve less.
  4. Prioritize. You will not have time to do absolutely everything you want to, so you need to set priorities. Start working first on the most important tasks of the day. If you need to advance with a paper, start with that. Don’t check your mail, Facebook, read an article here, chat with a friend, go for shopping and so on. Start working in a focused way on the big, important projects. Otherwise, the small stuff will eat up all your time.
  5. Learn to say “no”. This is a key skill related to prioritization. Get clear on your priorities and say “no” to everything else. There are a lot of demands placed on your time and this is the only way to stay in control.
  6. Allow for buffer time. Unexpected events will happen for sure, so don’t schedule your time to the minute. You need to have some flexibility built in, so that you can adapt to whatever comes your way, while sticking to your initial plan, as well.
  7. Don’t over-complicate things. With so many productivity tools out there, you might feel pressured to use the latest app and spend time to keep up with sophisticated systems. There’s no need to do that. All you need is a to-do lists that captures everything and a calendar, that ideally gets synched across your devices. It’s a good idea to take some time and record in your calendar all the exams, papers, finals, etc for the current semester.
  8. Beat procrastination. Want to avoid the panic and stress associated with last minute preparation before an important exam or paper delivery? Start working on your projects in time. Plan in advance, break big projects into smaller parts and just start taking the first step. Once you start, you will be able to keep going. Start your studying sessions with the course you like the least. You will find it easier to handle them when you’re fresh.
  9. Prepare to manage midterm stress. Proper time management will save you a lot of stress, when everybody is caught into the midterm craze. Set some rewards for yourself. Build some relaxation time into your schedule. It doesn’t work to just put pressure on yourself. If you take an evening to go out with your friends and switch-off, you will do much better overall.
  10. Make good use of the time between classes and meetings. Think about how you can capitalize on the small bits of time you have available. For example, if you have 10 minutes between classes, review your notes from a previous lecture.
  11. Stay organized. Try to keep an uncluttered environment and have a place for everything. In this way, you don’t waste time searching for your notes or for other things.
  12. Focus. When you do something, dedicate your undivided attention to that. Multitasking leads to low productivity. You will achieve much more when you block a period of time and focus on a single project.
  13. Schedule weekly reviews. In order to double-check if you’re on track on achieving your objectives, have a weekly review. It’s a good idea to do this for each course, in order to organize notes, reading assignments and other projects.
  14. Exercise. Regular physical activity has a positive effect on your well-being and it will improve your productivity overall. Not to mention, it’s great for your health and it helps you cope with stress much better. You don’t need to go to extremes and don’t push yourself if you’re too tired. However, find a way to fit this into your schedule regularly.
  15. Focus on results. Start working on something with the end result in mind. This mindset guides you in using time more effectively. For example, don’t approach a “two hours of study for marketing” approach, but a “learning how to draft a marketing plan” one, for which you allocated a time block of two hours.
  16. Escape the time scarcity mindset. The lack of time craze is thriving on a wrong mindset. There is no such thing as time scarcity and you can see the proof in the fact that some people accomplish amazing things in the same 24 hours a day that are available to you. If you’re interested into how to create more time for yourself and embrace a time abundant lifestyle, you may find this helpful.

Photo by: Melissa

rules for effective meetings

6 Rules for Effective Meetings

rules for effective meetingsI have attended hundreds of meetings and I guess you did the same. I’m not trying to hide the fact that very often I felt I’m losing my time…

So I spent some time thinking about what are the factors that increase the chances of having an effective meeting. Are there any rules for effective meetings? There are lots of tips on how to run effective meetings, that enable better decision making. However, I believe that there are only a few elements that are really key.

Effective Meetings Rules

I’m sharing with you below 7 ways to really make a difference in terms of driving up the effectiveness of your meetings.

1. Is A Meeting the Right Tool to Use in This Particular Situation? You need to view meetings as tools. They can be very effective, if used well, in the right circumstances. At the same time, they may be totally useless in other situations. Think for example about trying to fix a broken window with a hummer. This is obviously not the best tool to use, given the situation. Yet, people use meetings all the time when this is not the best option. So whenever you plan to run or attend a meeting, ask yourself if this is the best option to push something further.

2. Use an Agenda Effectively.  First of all, there should be a clear agenda, that is ideally shared well in advance with the participants. So what does it mean to use the agenda well? First, the agenda should reflect the objective of the meeting. While there may be several objectives, the fewer the better. Secondly, especially when shared in due time, it allows participants to prepare well for the meeting. Finally, this is the best friend of the Chair, as it helps keep the discussions actionable and to the point.

3. Avoid the Top 3 Biggest Moderation Mistakes. There are a few patterns that plague almost all ineffective meetings.

  • Unfocused discussions is a top one. Ten minutes into the meeting and the specific points on the agenda are a distant memory. The Chair has to bring participants on-track. Even if you are just participating, it’s a good idea to ask everybody to focus on the points stated in the agenda.
  • The second biggest mistake is turning the meeting into a battlefield. People start fighting and blaming each other. This does little to solve the problem. Try to focus everybody’s attention and energy on finding constructive solutions to move things forward.
  • Finally, avoid lack of clarity in the meeting’s outcome. The end point needs to be clear from the start and the whole meeting must push towards that.

4. Capture the Minutes. Discussions happen really fast during a meeting. You may be surprised to find out that not everybody has the same understanding of what has been discussed and agreed. Then, people tend to forget, which is normal. So, there should be someone who is responsible with taking and sharing the minutes. If this is not feasible, a minimum is to summarize at the end all the important conclusions and next steps.

5. Align Crystal-Clear Next Steps. This part of running effective meetings is crucial. It’s true that most meetings end with a summary, but this is not enough. You need to make sure that the next steps are absolutely crystal-clear and that there is a clear owner assigned for each action to take. The summary should not sound like a description, but it should be a collection of action points. State clearly what needs to be done, by when and by whom.

6. Establish Checking Points in the Future. Having a clear next steps plan is all good in theory, but in order for something to move forward, the agreed actions need to also happen. Assign an owner responsible with the overall follow-up. Or agree on the date of the next meeting, in which to review the status and adjust the plan.

You can go into much more depth for each of the points above. However, if you just follow these effective meetings tips, I’m sure you’ll get significantly more of your meetings.

Choose your meetings well! Take off your agenda all the meetings you don’t need to be part of.

When you chair a meeting, you have more control over how the meeting is run. So make sure you put those effective meetings rules into action.

Even if you are not the Chair, you can also influence a lot the way the meeting is run. So take the initiative and push as much as possible for having an effective meeting.

Photo: Amanda Schults

How To Deal With Interruptions And Take Control Of Your Time

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Interruptions are a huge time waster. At the same time, we are exposed to interruptions all the time. And don’t think that this only happens when someone else triggers them. Many of them are determined by us.

Whenever you start to engage into multitasking or stop what you are doing and completely switch to doing something else, you become an interruption victim.

The modern workplace leads you into such a way of working, even if you have a natural tendency to focus. Think about it! You start working on something and then you get a phone call. After ten minutes you get an urgent email and you need to double-check something quickly and reply. Then you go to the department meeting, you finally start working again on the project and your boss wants to talk to you. And then there are some more urgent emails demanding your attention.

Sounds familiar?

There are two big problems with this way of working. First of all it is not efficient, to say the least. If you start doing something, interrupt, start over again, interrupt and so on, you need to spend time several times to remember where you left-off. However, the second problem is that you can’t really avoid interruptions.

So what to do?

Change The Way You Respond To Interruptions

Most people take it for granted that when they face an interruption, they need to stop what they were doing and deal with it. This is indeed one way to manage an interruption and in some cases it is the only way. However, in most situations you can choose from a number of alternative options.

Your aim is to take control. When it’s a must, you do need to stop your activity and shift your attention towards something else. Assess each time if this is really the case though. Even if it’s not the case, you can still choose to allow yourself to be interrupted, if you believe it’s the best thing to do. But the key is to control wether of not you allow a certain event to interrupt you.

Let’s discuss more specifically and expose the biggest offenders.

Emails

A lot of people continuously check, sort and respond to emails. This is a never-ending stream that can keeps you busy forever. How many times did it happen to you to wonder what happened for the last couple of hours? And most importantly, why haven’t you significantly advanced with the project you were working on? In most cases, this is due to less than ideal email management!

The answer is to set limits that suit your needs, but put an end to the continuous email management. For example, check your emails only three times per day, at set hours.

Maybe the nature of your activity demands that you react faster. However, try to set at least some blocks of time in which you don’t check email at all. Use them to focus exclusively on the task at hand.

Phone Calls

When the phone rings, we all have this unstoppable urge to answer. You don’t have to answer the phone though, if it’s not an appropriate time for you. As with emails, set aside time blocks in which you don’t answer the phone.

Let the people get through to the robot. Of course, you then need to review your voice mail and missed calls and call back, as needed. The difference is that you’ll be able to group together several calls and do this when it’s a better time for you, without destroying your productivity.

If you do need to answer, keep the conversation brief and to the point. If you need to have a long conversation, schedule it for a time that suits you.

Unexpected Visitors

If it is really important to finish your current work, you don’t need to interrupt yourself just because someone shows-up. Agree a timing for a separate meeting and continue your work. You need to learn to say no and stick to your projects.

Don’t let external events run your agenda. If you do decide to take a break and have a five minute chat with a colleague, do so. But you need strong discipline. Don’t turn this into a half hour gossip session.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is a great invention that facilitates collaboration. It is a double-edged sword though. The most common mistake is not keeping conversations brief. If you try to work on your project while checking the messenger conversation every one-two minutes, your productivity will be nothing to write home about.

Setting limits is easier said than done, though, so you need to develop an effective approach. First of all, change your status to “busy”. Then, if you notice that you find yourself engaged into long conversations frequently, try to completely turn-off instant messaging, at least for a few hours every day. The world will not crush, I promise!

Social Media

This is another biggie. Furiously checking Facebook, Twitter and the likes every five minutes is a sure way to burn through your day and do nothing. These are amazing time sinks. Like with emails, set aside two or three times a day when you allow yourself to check your accounts. One time per day is better if you can and it is more than enough. You will see your productivity explode once you get out of this race of keeping-up with every status and message.

Multitasking

Although technically you still continue to work on something, multitasking is in fact an interruption. Your productivity is dramatically reduced by this rapid succession of attention shifts from one project to another.

In reality, there are of course times when you need to multitask. Whenever you can avoid this practice though, do it. Finish one task and only then move on to another.

I know you may actually be proud of your multitasking abilities. However, try single tasking and compare results. If your productivity does not explode, I rest my case.

Looking For Something

How often does it happen to you to look for some lost object or piece of information? This is quite a common time waster. Although each time you do this you may only spend a few minutes to find what you are looking for, think about the compound effect.

How much time do you waste like this in a week and within a month? This is lost time that you can spend in a better way. Try to keep your desk tidy and spend some time to design a system to organize your information.

I’m still working to improve in terms of managing interruptions. I must say that when I do a good job at this, I definitely reap the rewards. I’m able to achieve more of what is important for me, no doubt about it.

Don’t try to attack all these enemies at the same time. Pick one and for a week focus on eliminating that specific source of interruptions. So, which one are you going to address this week?