“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” ~ Peter F. Drucker
Do you work lots of overtime and still don’t have time for everything you need to do? Are you one of those people that would love to have 28 hours in a day? Well, unfortunately you also have only 24 hours like everybody else on this planet. Oh and I’m sorry, I forgot: There is no such thing as time management! You can’t manage time. What you can do is use your time wisely and manage your priorities. Everyone who comes to me and most of my friends say “I don’t have time to_________ (fill in the blank).”
The fastest way to gain time is to watch one hour less of TV every day. That’s 365 hours a year, which equals 28 hours a month! What would you do with seven extra hours a week? Another trick to gain more time is getting up earlier (see Chapter 25).
Set priorities and choose what activities to invest your time in. Set clear rules about when you are available and when you are not available and don’t let other people steal your time. The funny thing is, the more you value your time, the more you will have of it, because people will also value your time. If you allow people to interrupt you all the time, you’re essentially showing them that your time is not very valuable in which case you will not be able to work effectively, no matter how many hours you work. Recent studies have found out that each 5 minute interruption at work costs you 12 minutes, because your brain needs 7 minutes to refocus!
How many interruptions do you have per day? 10? 12? Imagine how much time you can gain back when you decrease the number of interruptions. Every 3 minute interruption costs you 10 minutes. Let’s say you get interrupted 12 times in one working day: 2 hours gone! In a month that’s like having an extra week! Don’t let employees, friends, or clients interrupt you. Set those clear rules NOW.
Another big time robber is social media and e-mail. Setting fixed times for your social media activity and checking emails is another means to gain a lot of time.
I started gaining a lot of time at work when I learnt to say “NO”. My personal number one time saving technique is taking 30 to 60 minutes on Sundays to plan my week ahead. I put my personal and professional goals for every week in my excel sheet. And don’t forget to schedule in some free time, relaxation time, like power naps, reading, meditation, etc. and some buffer time for emergencies too. I also take 15 minutes every day to plan my next day. In this way, I give my subconscious mind a chance to work on it already while I sleep. This works! When I start the next day I don’t have to think much: I just go to work.
Some more time saving tips
- Make a to-do list with date and the time the task takes.
- Limit your phone calls to 5 minutes per call.
- Be aware of the result you want for each call that you make.
- Work against time and you’ll get your work done faster (set an alarm clock and work against it)
- Write 5 things you want for the next day each evening and listthem in order of priority.
- Create blocks of time (90 minutes blocks).
- Track your time. Take a look at how you are currently using your time by tracking your daily activities.
- Do the unpleasant things first.
- Stop being busy and go for results.
Be careful with the following time robbers
- Lack of information for completing a task.
- You do everything yourself (Is delegating an option?).
- You get distracted easily (Focus and set boundaries!).
- Your phone calls are too long (Put a 5 minutes limit).
- You spend a lot of time in searching for files (Get organized!)
- You keep doing things the same way and don’t realize that there could be a more efficient way of doing it.
- You think you have to be reachable all the time and everywhere (Really?).
So what are you going to do next? Will you insist on the excuse that you have no time or will you start making time with one little thing at a time and experience the change for yourself? What are you going to do? Remember it’s all about decisions and habits!
Write down 5 things you will start doing NOW!