Last month’s contractor quick poll followed up on an article that had been published about how people waste their time. Some of the results were surprising and we were curious to know how they compared to independent contractors. Do our readers consider their biggest time sucks to be leisure-related, such as TV, gaming or social media, or more work related, such as commuting or meetings? Alternatively, the poll also included an open-ended response in case there was a new time waster that the Entrepreneur article hadn’t touched (the most popular one related to reading through useless emails).
The results are in and, as usual, we’re sharing them below. It seems that useless meetings and mobile devices take the cake on time wasters. Are you surprised by what others had to say? Can you eliminate some of the places you’re wasting too much time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
You have to set goals and form a plan if you want to succeed at anything significant. That is a fact. Unfortunately, not everybody goes through this exercise when setting out to accomplish something new and, therefore, don’t make it too far. If you do organize yourself and set personal development goals, then you also know that you can’t complete 100% of them. Why is that?
Independent contractors set out to achieve new goals every day — learning new programming skills, reading more books, applying to more jobs — but unfortunately failure still happens. Sometimes it has to do with lack of time or extenuating circumstances, but other times, it’s pure laziness. This video from Bright Side shares a Japanese technique to help you get over the laziness hurdle. As far as time goes, that’s a post for another day.
Entrepreneur recently published a slideshow outlining to be what they believe are the biggest time wasters, based on how much time the average person spends on each. To no surprise, TV, Facebook and YouTube made the top 3, with cell phones, gaming, traffic, parking and meetings completing the list.
This sparks an interesting discussion and the perfect topic for June’s contractor quick poll. What are your top time wasters? Feel free to select up to three of the options below, or add one that we may have missed.
As much as clients and recruiters love to know they’re working with a hard-working IT contractor, it is possible to work too hard, to the point where you may be addicted to work. The result can lead to overall unhappiness in life, an unhealthy body, and, ironically, lower productivity.
What can you do about a work addiction? The first step is to find out if you really are addicted. From there, work at breaking that addiction. This infographic from The Business Backer provides advice on both of those, making it the perfect tool for an independent contractor to review. Take control of your work in 2017, before it takes control of you.
Yesterday we shared some of 2016’s top articles and tools about training and development so you can start setting your technical skills development goals this year. While these skills make it so you can successfully complete a project, recruiters and clients alike are looking for more than your abilities. They want to know how personable you are and how advanced your “soft skills” are.
How important is it to keep these skills refreshed? Every member of Eagle’s Executive Team touched on it in 2016:
Clients love productive contractors. It means they get IT projects done faster, save money, and look good in front of their peers.
When a client loves you, that means you will get more work. If not with that client, then the glowing feedback received by the recruiter will ensure that recruitment agency keeps sending gigs your way.
More gigs mean a steady flow of income and less stress.
When you do the math (productive contractor = happy client = more work = more money), being productive is a pretty awesome thing for an independent contractor.
If you’ve set some goals to be more productive but it isn’t happening, then review this quick video from Entrepreneur. It not only provides some advice on how to get more done in a day, but it also touches on some common habits that you may think are helping, but are actually wasting time.
Many people find themselves in this situation … overwhelmed and unsure about how to dig out from under the pile!
I could talk all day about good time management practices but when you are in this position you just need some help.
“Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.” William Penn
Make something happen. Inertia is addictive, and the more you become paralyzed by your situation the worse it gets. So pick something that is important and just get it done! Focus entirely on getting that one thing done and ignore the other things on your plate.
Once you have one thing off your plate … remind yourself that you did it! You had a success. Do NOT get overwhelmed again … pick another thing. and get that done.
Choosing the things to get done can also be paralyzing … so don’t overthink it. Remember you were getting nothing done before, so this is significant progress.
Complex tasks can be tiring, and completing them one after the other can be draining. Mix things up a bit by adding in smaller (still important tasks) in between the larger ones.
Completing work gives a sense of accomplishment, and provides a little relief to that “overwhelmed” feeling. However, it is only by taking control of your day that you will feel in control, and relieve that stress.
“Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.” Pandora Poikilos
So … the long term solution is to get organised!
Create a To Do List (or several To Do lists … all the tasks you NEED to do.
Prioritise your work … what is important and what is urgent!
Organise your calendar so that you have time set aside for the work to be done. Create meetings with yourself so you won’t be interrupted.
Delegate what you can … if possible.
Ignore what you can … not everything is important.
Be very focused on getting stuff done … rather than worrying about how you will get it ALL done..
Use the triage method of organising your work, just like the hospital. The most urgent (and important) items get done first.
Get help! Whether it could be advice and guidance from your management, ideas and tips from your colleagues, or training on time management from wherever you can get it!
Life is too short to be living under such stress. If you apply your skills in an organised manner you may well surprise yourself at how much you can achieve AND how good you feel about those achievements.
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” George Patton
Good time management practices could probably reduce workplace stress significantly!
Science-Backed Advice for Independent Contractors to be More Productive
Work smarter, not harder — that’s what this infographic from OfficeVibe preaches, and we agree. Clients often hold independent contractors to a higher standard than they do employees when it comes to productivity. They’re paying what they believe to be premium hourly rates for your IT expertise and want to know they’re getting their money’s worth all of the time. If that’s not a good enough argument, consider that the more productive you are on a tech project, the more time you have for yourself to take it easy or to take on more work and earn extra income.
If we have your attention and you’d like to increase your productivity, review the infographic below. Some of their tips may need some consideration (a client wouldn’t appreciate you billing while you take a nap in their office), but none-the-less, there is some very good advice for independent contractors in here… and it’s all backed by science!
This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee engagement survey software that shows you how to improve employee engagement so that they’re more productive.
At one point or another in your day, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll hit a wall where your mind decides that working is no longer an option and turns off. Instead, you find yourself browsing social media, getting coffee, or chatting with co-workers.
Sometimes the option is to take a break for a couple hours and independent contractors, more than permanent employees, often have that freedom. Other times, though, the work has to get done and you need to get your mind back into the flow of things so you can focus on your project. To help you stay on track, we found not one, not two, but 50 ways you can boost your brainpower in this infographic from Wrike.