For most of us, time management and staying productive is a daily struggle. Sometimes that’s not the end of the world. But, if you don’t address this sooner then later, the things you were supposed to do today get pushed to tomorrow, then the next day. Eventually, you could end-up several weeks behind.
That’s not good for business or your stress-level. Thankfully, you can prevent that from happening by using these time management and productivity tips. Let’s start to gain yourself more time.
1. Just breathe.
Here’s an interesting fact from Tom Evans, host of the Zone Show podcast. A tortoise’s life expectancy is around 120 to 140 years, while an elephant lives for around 80 to 90 years. Even though our own life expectancy is increasing, it used to be just between 50 and 60 years.
While there are a number of factors that influence the life expectancy of these animals, Evans notes that, “a tortoise breathes around four times every minute. An elephant breathes around eight times every minute and we breathe around 12 to 15 times every minute.”
As such, Evans, suggests that if you want to change your relationship with time then you should start breathing more slowly. “To begin we need to use our diaphragm and to do belly breaths. This of course is how a baby breathes. We’ve just got out of the habit.”
“Now you don’t have to do it all the time but just doing seven to nine deep and slow breaths at the start of the day is enough to slow things down. You can also do it before any creative task or if you have been stressed. It works especially well if you are running late for a meeting. By breathing more slowly, we ‘expand’ time.”
2. Measure twice, cut once.
My dad used to tell me, “Measure twice, cut once.” This is actually a famous proverb for anyone involved in carpentry or building since it advices to do things right the first time around.
Double-check your work so that you don’t spend the time going back and correcting your mistakes.
3. Turn off the TV.
It’s been found that we spend eight years and ten months of our lives watching TV – plus an additional eight months discussing plot holes and characters. Instead of watching so much television, spend that time on higher-leverage tasks.
4. Eat the frog first.
“Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long,” writes Brian Tracy.
“Your ‘frog’ is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.”
5. Schedule according to energy.
Speaking of eating that frog, do that when you have the most amount of energy and focus – aka your “magic hours.” This is typically 2.5 hours after you wake-up. By creating a schedule based around your energy you can create a routine that ensures your as productive as possible. Make sure to schedule out time on your Calendar.
6. Wake-up earlier.
Want more time? Then start waking-up earlier. This way you have the time to read, exercise, respond to emails, and plan out your day properly.
7. Keep a time diary.
A time diary a simple way to find out how you spend your time. By recording how you spend your time for a month or two, you’ll see where you’re wasting time and what influences productivity.
8. Make use of waiting time.
Let’s say you have a doctor’s appointment. Have something with you to do. This could be reading a book, catching up on correspondence, or writing your upcoming eBook.
9. Make a list and get it out of your head.
Don’t let everything you have to do swirl around in your head. Jot them done so that it clears your brain and prevents you from getting overwhelmed.
10. Think “half-time.”
For example, if you’re cooking dinner, make the twice the amount and freeze half of it. This way you’re not spending that time again preparing and cleaning your meal on another night.
11. Ditch commitments that waste your time, energy and attention.
One of the most effective ways to gain more time is to eliminate those commitments that are, well, a waste of your time. Identify these commitments that are unproductive and don’t schedule them into your calendar growing forward.
12. Be decisive.
That time you spend flip-flopping on a decision could be spent on something that’s actually productive. Make a decision, live with it, and move on.
To be continued.