3 Practical Steps: Get More Done in Less Time and Create Time to Enjoy Your Life (Part 2)

In Part 1, I discussed the first step in producing more output via less input, and how to increase your “free time” by drastically reducing the deceptively voluminous time spent on unnecessary email checking. For you those of you who missed it, you can check it out HERE.

What follows is the second step in creating more time in your day. I promise I’ll spare you the waves of prolixity I may have drowned you with in Part 1.

2. Eliminate All Time Wasters In Your Day

We humans are experts at creating distractions in order to avoid completing the tasks that are actually of greatest importance. I can’t tell you how many times I’m sitting in a coffee shop, or walking by an office window, and catch a glimpse of someone who’s clearly supposed to be working but has Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, or a Blog pulled up on their computer screen.

And I won’t try to fool you by preaching that I’m the most self-controlled guy of the bunch, nor that I’m immune to the time-wasting practice of fools. So what are a few things I recently instituted, and would be remiss not to recommend them to you as well?

1. Block all the websites you’re addicted to out of pure entertainment. 

For those of you who have worked on your laptop while traveling via airplane, even notice how much more you were able to accomplish in the short time you sat there? As is kinda obvious, it’s because you didn’t have any access to internet (I’m pretty sure some airlines may have internet access on planes now, but I digress…)

When we’re connected to the internet, we almost can’t help ourselves but go to our favorite “fire gazing” web domains. These websites do nothing but allow you to delay doing what will actually provide you the greatest return for investment.

The problem is, sometimes you need the internet to accomplish the task at hand (using an online program or app, for example), so it’s not always a matter of simply turning off the internet to get something done. Besides, even if it is, you can always click the “On” switch should you lose self-control and desire to browse the web rather than complete your work.

So how to remedy this issue of our own depravity?

If you use Google Chrome, install Google Nanny, and if you use Firefox, then install Leech Blocker. I personally use Google Nanny, and I love it.

The beauty of these is you set a pre-determined time in which it will prevent you from logging on to particular websites. You can choose what days you’re blocked, and what times within those days you are blocked. I have personally chosen to block, from 8AM-10PM on weekdays, Facebook and all the popular fitness and “lifestyle design” blogs I tend to lurk on to distract myself. I can check up on them during the weekend, to see anything I may have missed. I do schedule a 15-minute window for Facebook to open up so that I can post these blogs online, but outside of that it’s an extremely refreshing media fast.

And don’t worry, contrary to popular belief, the world isn’t going to end if you left of the loop for a few days in the blog-o-sphere.

I chose 8AM-10PM because those are the hours I’m typically near my computer, and I can’t tell you how many weekday evenings I’ve gotten to bed wayyyy later than planned due to some pointless internet roaming. 10PM keep me from logging on the web when I should be climbing into bed.

 I can’t tell you how much time this has saved me, and how much faster it has allowed me to accomplish tasks. As when Jacopo reminds the Count in The Count of Monte Cristo, “I must protect you, even if it means protecting you from yourself.”

2. Stop checking your email so darn much.

Yes, I had to repeat this, even if I already belabored the point in part 1. It’s funny, as I feel that all of us across the board tend to enjoy checking email much more than we enjoy sending email. If you don’t batch your email and make your checking/sending an efficient and time-saving process (as discussed in part 1), this leads to the creation of an enormous gorilla on your back, constructed from all the emails you haven’t replied to.

Next week, in the last installment of this series, I’ll cover a critical action step to that drastically cuts down on the amount of time it takes to finish an important task. Up until now, we’ve learned how to remove distractions, but next week we’ll go over a bit of the actual “process” in task completion.