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How to Better Manage Your Time in a Distracting Digital World

Person on phone and laptop

October 7, 2016

By: Trent Selbrede

Will you be able to get through this article without being distracted by the very device on which you’re reading?

In a world of buzzes, beeps, clinks, dings, chimes, and just about every other sound you can name, focus has never been more fleeting. The distractions are visual, too: from exclamation marks on emails to notifications from web applications to tiny red numbers scattered across the home screen on your smartphone.

With so many things vying for your attention at any given time, how do you stay on track? Here are a few tips:

Shut Down the Day

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that certain things can wait until tomorrow. Otherwise, where does the day end? Consider setting a “shutdown time” every evening so that you can unwind, enjoy time with your family, and get a good night’s sleep. This simple tactic can dramatically improve your focus while at work.

Close Programs

Outlook Express will not help you complete a high-stakes business proposal. In fact, it will likely undermine your efforts. When you’re in the middle of a project, it’s OK to X out of your email for an hour or two. If something is extremely urgent during that time, someone will find a way to get in touch with you. The same goes for workflow and chat applications.

Separate Now from Later

There are tasks that are time-sensitive and tasks that are not. The tasks that are time-sensitive are worthy distractions. The ones that are not fit into the “things that can wait” category I alluded to earlier. As long as you are keeping track of deadlines and priorities, you shouldn’t feel the need to address every email and task instantly.

In a service-oriented business like hospitality, all customer requests and inquiries should, of course, be considered time-sensitive. You don’t want to keep your customers waiting.

Manage Expectations

Inevitably, there will be times when something is not as important to you as it is to the person on the other end of the email or call. Don’t be afraid to communicate your bandwidth and priorities. You can be honest without being abrasive.

How the SDSU HTM Master’s Program Teaches Time Management

Time management is all about knowing what’s important to you. The readings and class sessions in the HTM Master’s Program are designed to help you discover what’s important to you not only in your career, but in your personal life. The program also teaches time management by default because most Master’s students are juggling a full-time job, school, family, and other passions.

You will learn from Week 1 to value your time and monitor your productivity. See how the HTM Master’s Program can change your life.

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