The following article was written by author, publisher and entrepreneur, Michael Dalton Johnson
Work eight hours a day. That’s it. The rest of the day is yours.
You can get a lot done in eight hours. In fact, eight hours is an eternity. If you don’t believe this, fly coach for eight hours seated next to a crying infant. You’ll get a keen understanding of just how long eight hours can be.
Consider the time you devote to productive work as your “Golden Eight”—golden because time is money, especially in sales.
Working a solid, focused eight hours is difficult. Every day time bandits knock on your door. Members of this mob include personal phone calls and texting, bull sessions with coworkers, checking personal e-mail, looking for lost things (highly productive people have clean and well organized desks), personal errands, long breaks, and longer lunches. The list goes on.
It all adds up. Research shows that, on average, salespeople waste two hours a day. This works out to a startling three months a year! How much can you sell in three months?
You’ll give yourself a raise when you send these six Internet time bandits packing.
Time is money. By far the biggest time bandit is the Internet. While the web is indispensable for business, communication, education, and research, it is also highly addictive. Like most addictions, it devours your precious time, energy, and productivity and, by extension, your income.
Take it from a recovering Internet addict. If you are serious about increasing your productivity, avoid these six Internet time bandits:
1. Social networking: Sure it’s fun to share photos and news with friends and family, but it also diminishes your productivity. Do it after hours.
2. Online videos: That hilarious video of the cute kitten playing Ping-Pong is a must see, but not during the time you’ve devoted to work.
3. News and blogs: Offering lively writing, lots of photos, and tempting links to other sites and news items, these are powerfully addictive. Stay off of them during work.
4. Shopping: The Internet is open 24 hours a day. Shop before or after work hours.
5. Surfing the web: There’s a lot out there to see. It’s interesting and entertaining but a pointless drain on your precious time.
6. All that other stuff: Online games, auctions, adult sites, chat rooms, job sites, dating sites, and vacation and travel sites are all major workplace no-nos.
Become very aware of time. Use it as a success tool. Each morning take a few moments to write down what you want to accomplish that day. This does not have to be an hour-by-hour work plan.
It can simply state the work activities, which give you the highest return on your time. Allow yourself a little flexibility, and follow your plan.
This will get you on your way to greater productivity. You’ll enjoy the feeling of knowing that you’ve put in an honest and productive eight hours. You’ll look forward with greater appreciation to the sixteen hours left for rest, relaxation, friends, family, and maybe a little time on the Internet.
I know one entrepreneur who actually has an alarm clock on his desk. After eight hours of productive work the alarm clock goes off and he goes home. While keeping an alarm clock on your desk to remind you of the value of time, may seem a bit extreme (and probably is not necessary for most people,) it is a very strong reminder that you have eight hours to accomplish that day’s goals. As time ticks down, your production goes up.
Don’t work more than eight hours and you will still get a lot done. But you must remember to avoid the Internet time bandits. Stay focused.
Excerpted from Rules of the Hunt: Real-World Advice for Entrepreneurial and Business Success, McGraw Hill.