Get (almost) all of your time back easily.
People say they have ‘no time’ or are constantly under pressure due to time constraints and work, this simply isn’t true, what does happen is that we fall prey to bad habits that destroy the time we have to work to our best ability.
A good example is the need to prioritize what you actually do, and then look at what you do do.
For some (ie: me) this means constant distractions, so here is a short list that will free up potentially hours in your day — and possibly annoy some people so be ready for that too!
- When you are out of office be totally gone and delete all emails when you get back.
My out of office goes something like this
Subject:‘Sorry, but I am never going to get your email’…
‘I am out of office until (WhateverDate) and when I get back there’s nothing worse than a full inbox so I’m going to ctrl+A+delete all emails. If you want to ensure I read whatever you sent then please resend it after (WhateverDate).
Now, be warned, some people get actually offended by this. That’s part of the cost of trying to be more efficient with your time and fair on yourself.
The flipside is you try to come back after maybe ten days away and deal with loads of things that are either not relevant or will bog you down getting going again because you’ll have to catch up on all the time you weren’t there.
Why bother? Just hit ‘reset’ and start afresh, it’s absolutely liberating to delete away the noise/clutter and the catharsis of it is cleansing.
2. Turn off notifications for WhatsApp/Viber/Facebook and any other messenger.
Do you know how I know if I got a message? I have to manually go in and look, there is no ‘notification’, why? Because if there was then at least 50 times a day I’d get distracted and it would be (most likely) something non-work related.
Why would you go to work in order to be distracted by non-work and joke videos forwarded by friends? I love my friends but that doesn’t mean their well intended messages should mess up my day. Instead look at them on your lunch break and during a time when you can enjoy them rather than rush and try to multi-task responses and the job at hand.
I should add, this came about by mistake, I updated my android OS and for whatever reason I can’t turn on my WhatsApp message notifications, I got a call saying ‘I sent you messages what will you do about client-X’ and that’s when I twigged that for the last few days I was getting a lot done — because the 58+ messages (mostly fun/friendly things that don’t require instant feedback) hadn’t been breaking into my day.
3. Don’t open your email.
The fact that a person can send an email instantly doesn’t mean you have to open or reply instantly, in fact, one of my greatest pet-peeves (and one some people learn about the hard way) is when a person will knock on my office door and say ‘did you see that email’.
‘No? When did you send it?’
‘Just now’ or ‘a few minutes ago’.
Damn, that lights me up like nothing else.
Emails are like arrows, the ability to fling them doesn’t mean you actually should and the fact they are flung doesn’t mean you have to run around receiving all of them in the chest and then dealing with whatever issue they foist upon you — because lets be honest, it’s one of two things, either stuff that doesn’t affect you at all or that which will require action on your behalf.
4. Promise yourself you’ll actually do your job for an hour a day at a minimum.
I know, you’re thinking ‘but I do way more than one hour a day!
Are you sure? If you are an advisor are you actually offering advice more than an hour a day? Tangible advice? Meeting a client isn’t advice, it’s information gathering so distill down what you do to it’s purest elemental form and then make sure you do that thing for at least one hour with no distraction.
It’s harder than it sounds!
Yes, everything actually does come back to this, healthy body, healthy mind and vice versa — if you aren’t getting moving you go into stasis and that’s a terrible thing so go lift weights, run, walk, whatever the thing is you can live with, but break a sweat.
And with that you’ve just done one of two things, either reduced your work week or gotten a lot of time back so you can be more productive, use it wisely! (I tend not to!).