With so many responsibilities vying for attention, staying focused can be a challenge for IT consultants. To avoid the trap of being reactive rather than proactive, check out these tips from productivity experts and small-business owners. They can help you stay on track and resist the temptation to drop everything any time the phone or inbox dings.
Expert Productivity Tips You Can Use Today
1. Finish what you start. "Don't leave a task partially complete," says
president and owner of the
Computer Repair Doctor,
an electronics repair and computer services company. "Whenever possible, finish something." By focusing on one task at a time, you can give it your full attention – and likely complete it faster.
2. Don't be ruled by your inbox. "Email interruptions zap your productivity," says
and author of Personal Productivity Secrets. "Shut off automatic download of messages and start fetching emails only when you're ready to deal with them."
3. Make a list. "Make a to-do list for the next day each night when you have the freshest information about what is on your plate," recommends
Christina Willner, a
productivity expert and founder of the productivity software
"Pick tasks from your weekly projects and mark them as priorities on your to-do list. This ensures that you make actual progress in your business and are not just doing reactive work all day."
4. Avoid multitasking. "Unless you can handle two tasks at the same time without jeopardizing one or the other, do not multitask," says
president and CEO of
Dallas Web Design.
When you multitask, you force your brain to constantly switch gears, which expends mental energy you could use elsewhere.
5. Work in time blocks. "I start by creating a schedule for each task I need to complete for that day," says
PhoenixNAP Global IT Services,
an IT services company with multiple international locations. "I break my tasks down into 30- or 60-minute time blocks. This establishes deadlines and puts time limits on jobs, making it an automatic organizer."
6. Hire a virtual assistant. "A virtual assistant is a subcontractor who handles mundane busywork so business owners can spend that time focused on high-impact, revenue-generating activities for their business," explains
owner of virtual assistant company
The Admin Initiative.
7. Just say no to interruptions. "You never really know when you're going to get interrupted, so you can't really stop them," says
Productivity Partners, Inc.,
and author of the Amazon bestseller Get Organized. Get Focused. Get Moving. "All you can do is change how you react to them. If it's bells and whistles interrupting you, turn off those sounds or try to ignore them until you're ready to deal with them. If it's an individual coming into your office, acknowledge that person and then suggest an alternative date and time for the discussion."
Bonus Business Tips for Busy IT Consultants
If you need more pointers on efficiently running your IT business, check out these articles:
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