Busy, But Not Productive
Busy and productive are not the same thing. Get-It-Done Guy highlights the things that will push your productivity forward, rather than just keeping you busy.
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The Web Wastes Time
Unless you’re using a specific web application, like Salesforce.com, the web wastes time. Yes, your research on wombat sales in Southern Tennessee directly moves your marketing report forward. But the 45 minutes of email, cat pictures, news stories, and Lindsey Lohan scandals you read before you researched wombats more than makes up for the web’s usefulness.
And beware of ad-supported websites! Ads are distractions. The better the ad, the more the distraction. If your website is ad-supported, that means it’s distraction-supported. Surf at your own risk. The web is not your friend.
Social Media Definitely Wastes Time
Unless you can give me cold, hard numbers showing social media advances your job goals, it’s a waste of time. “But my Facebook page has 10,000 followers!” cries Stacy. Yes, and any one status update goes out to 4-6% of those. That means Stacy reaches at most 600 people with a post. Those 600 only see the update if they happen to be looking at their timeline when Stacy posts, and there’s no way to send a follow-up update to the same 600, making repeat impressions impossible.
Social media is a waste of time unless you’re Lady Gaga and can have a million people buy your songs by tweeting a single purchase link. (Or unless your job is doing social media, in which case doing social media is definitely not a waste of your time!)
PowerPoint Wastes Time, Too
I love PowerPoint decks! They have clip art, arrows, fonts, and sometimes even special effects. Before PowerPoint, presentations were hand drawn with markers on clear plastic. Back then, presenter spent their time on substance. Now, we spend hours nudging objects and tweaking fonts.
Don’t do that. PowerPoint has animations and sparklies because Microsoft needed to add features so you’d pay $100 for an upgrade. All that stuff just distracts you from actually knowing your material.
Do the minimum necessary formatting so your presentation gets taken seriously, but spend most of your time on the content.
Email Wastes Time Most of All
What do I need to say about email? Some people spend 2-3 hours a day on email. The Quick and Dirty Tips website is full of resources to help you minimize your email time. Just remember, you type slower than you talk. Never send an email when a phone call or voicemail would suffice.
Keep your job moving. Know which activities truly move your job forward, which are sorta-useful pleasant distractions, and which are downright time wasters. The web, email, and social media are almost never where the most job productivity lives. Keep the busyness at bay, and put your effort on what moves your business forward.
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