There Just Aren’t Enough Hours In The Day

Knicki FijalPost written by Knicki Fijal, Account Executive – Personal Lines

How many of you have ever said or thought: “There just aren’t enough hours in the day”?  I know that I’ve reached the end of my day several times and thought this very thing…but how productive was I really?

I’ve never been what you’d call an “organized person” so workflow was kind of a struggle when I first joined the team at Krueger & James. Luckily, I work with a great team who have mentored me and really helped me become much more organized.

I’ve made some great progress these past few years, but it wasn’t until Deena shared a few chapters from a book she’d read called “The Happiness Advantage” that things really hit home.

What I read got me thinking of how I ACTUALLY spend each day and inspired me to start a work journal. I wrote down everything I did with the start/stop times for each task.

Two things happened:

1. It gave me a little more accountability (since writing it down made it seem a little more official). I stayed on task for longer periods of time but also realized I wasted valuable time on distracting activities. Having that time back would have helped me cross more things off of my list for the day.

2. I was better able to regain my focus after I’d strayed away for a few minutes.

When we allow ourselves to give into these distractions it depletes our focus. And most of the time it takes even longer for us to recover and get back to the tasks at hand. I noticed this very thing the second day I logged my activity. I’d been working away and then took a break to get some more water. I got back to my desk and watched the headlines scroll across for a few minutes and then, before I knew it, 10 minutes had passed and I had nothing to show for it.

So how do we stay focused all day when there are so many easy distractions?

Ticking clockHere are a few things I had to adjust to help me stay a little more focused and productive throughout my days:

1. Schedule a few breaks in your day.

Superhumans can probably work a continuous, nonstop day, but I need my break time. By scheduling it, I essentially focus just on the break and that time to myself. Then, when it’s over, I know its back to work.

2. Make some of the easy distractions harder to access.

My homepage is now Google so I don’t get sucked in by the headlines I used to see. I also removed the pop up box notifications I used to get for every new email. I deleted saved passwords that allowed easy access to sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, personal email, etc. Trust me, you’re more likely to resist the temptation if you have to manually log in every time.

3. Log every activity and the time it takes you to complete each one.

You might learn you’re not as productive with your day as you thought.  You will also be able to identify your areas of weakness and make adjustments to your daily routine.

In the end, I’ve definitely noticed that my productivity has increased and now I have a lot fewer days where I leave the office saying “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”