Time is the one resource you cannot change.
It’s also the only thing that really matters, so time saving strategies can literally increase your happiness. If you make the most of it, you will have a fulfilling life, no matter how long you live for. If you don’t use time wisely, you could live a thousand years and still feel like you’ve missed out.
In the spirit of saving time, this post will be short and to the point. Here are some, but not all, of my favourite time management tips:
1. The Big Ugly Frog. Always do your biggest, ugliest task first. Before you check your email, or catch up with workmates, or sort out your tools. This will get the most important thing done before anything can disrupt you, and will remove the anxiety/worry about getting it done from your mind. Enjoy a clear-headed and easy rest of your day!
2. Train yourself out of internet addiction. One of the biggest time wasters is checking email. Another is scrolling through Facebook and other social media. Cut both of these down to no more than twice per day. Emails are not as urgent as they seem, and if you go in just twice a day to check them, you will save hours per week. No more time lost transitioning between tasks.
3. Prioritise tasks into URGENT, high, medium and low. Urgent tasks get done first (see Big Ugly Frog). Then high. Then medium. Then, if there’s time, low. And here’s the thing; often, medium and low tasks will not matter as much as you think they do. It takes a few months to figure out the difference between high and medium and low. Once you do, start giving yourself permission to NOT do low ranking tasks. You’ll be amazed at how no one even notices or cares.
4. Learn about the Pareto 80/20 Principle. There are a number of good books on this. I think Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4 hour work week” describes it best.
5. Take regular uninterrupted breaks. Understand you are more productive when you take regular breaks than when you don’t. Have regular breaks at work and always ensure at least one day per week is work/internet free. Your brain will ‘regenerate’ and learn quicker, making you more productive over time.
6. Learn Mindfulness meditation. Over time you can train your brain to stay in the moment, which will make you about 1000x more productive than most people.
7. Only do one thing at a time. I don’t care if you’re ‘good at multitasking’. You will never be as productive as when you are only focused on only one task. Plan your working time to remove distractions and train your co-workers and bosses to work with your priorities. No excuses, this is easier than you think.
8. Cut out time wasters. List the top 20 activities that consume your time during any given week. Put a tick next to the ones you enjoy the most. With all of the rest, plan how to reduce or remove them completely. Delegate, minimise, outsource or reduce. Fill your days with the things you love most. Remove the clutter and time-wasters. Pay other people to do it if you have to, it’s totally worth it.
9. Practice ‘Mindful eating’. This is a new technique I am learning at the moment. When you eat meals, make it a total experience. No distractions like TV, conversation (with the exception of social outings) or reading. Focus your attention on the food and eat slowly. This will not only help you get to your ideal body-weight better than any fad-diet, it is also a way of taking a good break from your work and refreshing your mind.
10. Give yourself deadlines and time-limits on everything. Your brain will go into problem-solving mode to figure out how to get it done within the time given. Without a deadline, your brain doesn’t know how to prioritise and finalise properly. Make them quite high-pressure deadlines. You will soon learn that GOOD ENOUGH is more effective than PERFECT, which is actually impossible.
Enjoy that post?