I know many people who are busy all the time, yet seem to get almost nothing done. Ever! That certain type of people who are always running around, messing around, always in a hurry and always complain about how the whole world is against them and how they have no time. However, there are hardly any visible results of their strains and efforts! Our world is hectic, it is true. So many things to do, so many people to meet, so many cups of coffee to drink… And there is never any time after work left for hobbies/children/friends/home improvements/sports/etc. How do you get important things done and still have time left for all of the stuff you personally want to do? Might be a rather trivial question and I strongly recommend anyone who would like to increase their productivity to read No B.S. Time Management by Dan S. Kennedy. Believe me, this book is worth your time, no matter how little of it you’ve got!
In the meantime, while your No B.S. Time Management is still in the post, here are a few tips that I myself find helpful and very useful….
Be organised. Schedule all of your telephone calls and meetings. It’s insane how in our day and age so many people do not do this! Any smartphone will have a diary app. Plan in advance. It’s impossible to schedule absolutely everything unless you are the only Big Boss and have everybody under your thumb, but it’s vital to aim for planning as much as possible. It’s also very easy to forget about an important call you need to make if you haven’t scheduled it.
Get rid of the ever-thirsty time sucking vampires who drain your body dry of your time every day with long conversations (which are not constructive), keep inviting you for a cup of coffee every 15 minutes and basically just waste your time. No harm in having a cup of coffee and a nice chat now and again but if you spend most of your day talking to different people for 20 or 30 minutes and doing important things in between, no wonder nothing will ever get done. Don’t mix your ‘friendship’ time and your ‘work’ time.
Make lists of things you need to get done. Ideally state the deadlines as well – it will help you prioritise those tasks that are most urgent. And don’t forget to check your lists! Amazing how people tend to make a list and just put it in their desk. And forget about it.
Do not switch between tasks. If you are writing an email, don’t stop to make a call. Finish your email and then make a call. If you are busy planning a lesson, don’t stop to check your email. You get me, right? Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity.
Be careful multitasking. Some things can be done at the same time – like having a glass of wine and enjoying the sea view (oops! Wrong one!). Ok, let’s say… like listening to music and writing an article, (which is precisely what I am doing right now), but talking on the phone to a client and creating a business plan for your new company would not work well together. Like beer and ice-cream don’t go together, certain activities just do not go together either! You can’t be watching a film and reading a book at the same time – you will only be concentrating on one thing and the other one will just get past you, so you will either not know what is happening on the screen or have to read the same page a few times. Each task requires a specific mindset.
Delegate your tasks where possible. It’s often far more productive to hire a nanny to pick your little one up after school than doing a school run yourself and having to spend an extra hour at work later on. Think time saving, cost efficient and ‘hands-freeing’.
Learn to say NO. People love taking advantage and making you do things for them. “It will only take 20 minutes of your time” – I have heard this so many times I am scared to remember. Of course, helping others is important. 20 minutes is not that much, really. BUT. When you have 6 people asking for 20 minutes of your time… there you go, 2 hours of YOUR time gone! No problem if it was worth it, but was it?..
Beware of the social media! One of the worst ever time-consuming whirlpools. You were only planning to spend a couple of minutes on Facebook to wish your friend a Happy Birthday… Where has that hour gone?!
Learn to prioritise. Do what is most important and difficult first, everything else comes second and third. That’s why lists are so important – so you can plan your day/week/month ahead and have a clear picture of what your plans are.
Find enough time for sleep, rest and fun – when you are fresh and happy, you are more productive and efficient! When you are tired, simple things take twice longer to accomplish.
…Sincerely hope that this article was worth your time:-)