Have you ever thought, “I’m not concerned about managing my time or reading about tips on how to do it. I have too much to do”? As busy professionals and multi-taskers we can get caught up in doing so much that we accomplish nothing.

Let’s look at a common myth: Working in the office is the only way you can accomplish tasks.

Do you work in an office with the old school mentality that you have to be in the office to accomplish anything?

Perhaps, you work in the office because this is where you are used to working. But ask yourself an important question: Are you finishing your tasks or are you constantly being interrupted?

The prevalence of technology, Smartphones, and social media mean you don’t have to be next to someone to communicate effectively.

“There’s less stress in the office and the workplace — people feel empowered to work in a way that suits them and suits the business.”

Read on to read more thought-provoking questions about your work life and environment and to gauge your overall productivity.

    1. Are you interrupted more than once per hour with questions that could have been resolved without your input?

Forty-five percent of hiring managers surveyed by CareerBuilder said that office distractions caused employees to do poorer quality work, while 30% reported lower morale and 24% said people missed deadlines.

    1. Do you answer emails as they come in?

Recent studies have shown that we open our emails because we want to be reactive and not proactive, and because we need a distraction. We start with email is not only because we need to respond to others, some of them clients or superiors, in a timely manner, but also that re-acting is easier than pro-acting.

    1. You don’t have a plan for your day because your boss sends you new assignments and constantly interrupts your flow.

Does this sound familiar?

If you lose control of your tasks due to lack of organization and structure, and you end up accomplishing very little, then the only person you can hold accountable is YOU!

    1. Your desk is a mess. Are you required to do too much? Do you have trouble saying no?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these, then chances are you have too much on your plate, you are disorganized, and you aren’t achieving your goals.

  1. Do you hate your job, and have little to show for your advancement?

You’re the go-to person, and people look to you for advice and guidance.

Rewarding? Yes. Fulfilling? Maybe not…
When your higher level of competence leads to a larger workload, then this can become exceedingly difficult to endure. And, eventually, this will turn into a job you resent, which will lead to an unfulfilling career.

All of the above are all very good indicators that it’s time to make a change…

Some of you might need to change your approach to your job, get a little bit organized, and learn to say “no”. Others may need to change their career all together. However, this is easier said than done because you still have to feed the family and pay the mortgage! So, this may take time.

In the meantime, here are some tips that help you to make the change, manage your time better, and get your life back.

Once you realize it might be time to leave your job, it’s important to first think of what you want in a new job or career. Think about:

  • Responsibilities
  • Company culture
  • Compensation
  • Benefits

Kahn says: “Create timelines for yourself of finding another opportunity and making your exit.”

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW!

The successful entrepreneur or businessperson knows that 20 percent of your work produces 80 percent of your results. The law of the vital few: roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

    1. Start your morning with a to-do list and a list of accomplishments you want to achieve that day. Do your “hardest” tasks first. Once you complete them, this will give you a sense of accomplishment, which will make it easier to move on to the next tasks and steps.Keep no more than 3 items on your “to-do” list at any given time. Save your energy do the hardest tasks first. Think of it this way: If you only accomplish one thing today, which of the three would it be? What is the priority? Make this task number one.
    2. Keep a schedule and record all of your thoughts and interactions throughout your day. There are several apps that can help you do this quickly and effectively.

Set up a schedule for yourself in your calendar, allow yourself a certain amount of time for each task. Before each task, ask yourself:

      • How will this benefit me and my business?
      • What am I going to get out of this?
      • How does this help me reach my goals?

Be sure to also schedule a time for interruptions, emails, and phone calls, and limit the time spent on them. Don’t forget to turn off instant messaging and social media distractions. Try not to answer your phone every time it rings; that’s what voicemail and text messages are for.

  1. Set up an auto reply on your email box indicating when you will check email. For example:

I am currently working with or on a project for you or another client. I would like to dedicate this time to fully focus. I will be checking my email between 4 and 5pm today. If you have an emergency that can’t wait please call my assistant at 222-2222. Thank you for your patience.

Even if you don’t have the most rewarding or fulfilling career out there, there are little things you can do each day to make your job and responsibilities more manageable. Even taking time to set a schedule, getting organized, and planning your day can make a huge difference in your productivity…and your attitude.

Download this guide to Time Management Apps for Small Business owners and Professionals.