Unless you have been living under a rock for the last month, you are probably aware that the world has been going absolutely nuts about the World Cup. Whether or not you were one of the fans who found themselves glued to the television to catch any part of the tournament; you were undoubtedly aware of the economic impact of the tournament.
I'm not talking about the billions of dollars that were generated in South Africa, who hosted the event. Rather I'm talking about the impact of lost productivity in many countries who literally shut down for a matter of days to view the World Cup.
One study suggests the German economy, Europe's largest, loses more than $8 billion in productivity, about 0.27 percent of gross domestic product, during the month long tournament. Surveys in Britain predict output losses there of $1.5 billion to $2.3 billion.
What does this mean for you and your business? Perhaps you and your staff spend 30 minutes at the beginning of the day checking Facebook or other social media sites. Perhaps you are prone to answering a ringing phone, even when you are in the middle of a project. You may even engage in idle chatter or water cooler talk throughout the day. An hour here, an hour there...pretty soon you find yourself with projects not done and no more time left in the day.
Here are a few tips that I have found useful in ridding myself of "time vampires":
1. Return calls and check voice mail at certain times during the day. Obviously if you are in retail, this does not apply, but my outgoing message says, "I check my messages at noon and at the end of the business day. I will get back to you as quickly as possible. If this is an urgent matter, please text or email."
2. Schedule "Blow off" time. This time can be a bit of a mental break, a chance to catch up if you are off schedule, or it can allow you to mentally shift gears when switching activities.
3. Delegate, delegate, delegate. I can't tell you how many times I have found myself spending an hour trying to figure out a computer problem, plumbing problem, or some menial task when I could have and should have delegated the duty to someone else. If you don't have a staff, find someone to handle some of the non-revenue producing activities for you. Sites like Elance and oDesk offer people who would love to tackle your time wasting activities for a few bucks.
I hope this helps you add a few more hours in your day.