Top-Shelf Tip No. 102:

"Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed."

Peter Drucker

Eliminate Time Constraints That Hold You Back

Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. How well you manage your time greatly impacts your success. What many professionals don't realize, though, is that it's not enough to simply do the right things with your time. You must also avoid the wrong things. Rather than constantly getting distracted by email, social media, meetings or various other things that crop up in your day, learn to control and focus your attention.

Jason Fell, director of native content for Entrepreneur, learned a four-step process from Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, to eliminate distractions and break free from the time constraints that hold us back. We explore this process in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today .

Master your internal triggers. This is the first step to mastering your time, according to Eyal. We often allow ourselves to get distracted because of uncertainty, fear and frustration instead of thoughtfully doing what we intended. Instead of ignoring these triggers, we should identify the situation or emotion that's prompting us to waste time. When you feel the urge to scroll through social media, recognize the trigger and do something else instead. Make that phone call you've been delaying all week or pick up a book and read a few pages.

Track input in addition to output. Fell learned from Eyal that far too many people use to-do lists without considering the amount of time it takes to complete a task. To-do lists account for things you do, which is your output. Make sure you account for your output as well as your input-in other words, your time. If you don't define what you want to do with your time, then everything is a distraction. Eyal suggests mapping out your entire week down to the minute so you know the difference between action and distraction.

Eliminate external triggers that don't serve you. Those who work in an office know the workplace is full of distractions and interruptions. Eyal asserts that people need time to sit and contemplate away from distraction. He suggests that professionals "hack back" the external triggers that lead to distraction. You could turn off your personal email notifications and shut off notifications from apps such as Facebook and Instagram while you're at work. Designate a specific time during your day to check personal communications and stick to it.

Block out distractions with "pacts." Eyal says that pacts are ways to pre-commit to an outcome when you know you are likely to get distracted. You could work with a friend for a set period of time where you keep each other accountable. For example, when Eyal writes, he uses an app called Forest that prevents him from checking his phone.

By mastering internal triggers, scheduling time for output, hacking back external triggers and blocking distraction with pacts, you can manage your time and maximize your focus and productivity.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jason Fell is director of native content for Entrepreneur, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for partners. He previously served as Entrepreneur.com's managing editor.

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