You feel overwhelmed and overdistracted; there’s too much to do and so little time. You need more time for yourself, your social life and to get more done. 24 hours a day doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. You look at other people who have it all figured out and wonder how they do it.
“There is no such thing as lack of time. We all have plenty of time to do everything that we really want to do… There are plenty of people who are even busier than you are and who manage to get more done than you do. They don’t have more time than you have. They just use their time to better advantage,” says Alan Lakein, author of How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life.
Get extra hours in your day with the following tips:
One Thing At A Time
It’s Bad news if you pride yourself on multitasking – the human brain isn’t wired for it. In fact, according to researchers from the University of Sussex in the UK, you might be physically harming your brain. It’s impossible for humans to process different kinds of information at the same time. “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time,” reads a study by Stanford University. Pay attention to one task at a time and you’ll achieve more in less time.
Organise Your Space
A messy desk is not a sign that you’re busy; it’s a sign that you’re… well, messy and it also imbibes on your time. You can’t be productive amid all that chaos. You’ll take longer to locate things. Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that it’s hard for the brain to focus or process information in a cluttered environment. Don’t get us started on the serious health effects a messy space can cause!
Block Out Distractions
Email notifications, phone calls, texts messages, mindless chatter with co-workers, the internet – they all have the potential of breaking momentum. “The biggest problem we face today is ‘reactionary workflow.’ We have started to live a life pecking away at the inboxes around us, trying to stay afloat by responding and reacting to the latest thing; emails, text messages, tweets and so on,” says Jocelyn K. Glei, co-author of Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Turn off notifications and set a certain time of the day when you’ll be answering or sending emails. Tell your co-workers that you’re too busy to talk until you clear your schedule.
Start With Hard Tasks
Procrastination is one of the biggest timestealers. “If you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest and most difficult task first,” advises Brian Tracy in his book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. He adds, “The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is to develop the lifelong habit of tackling major tasks first thing every morning. You must develop the routine of ‘eating your frog’ before you do anything else and without taking too much time thinking about it.”
Says Warren Buffet, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” It’s hard to say no. You’ll feel like you’re letting someone down or missing an opportunity by turning down a project. But by saying yes to everything, you’ll take on too much and compromise on your priorities. “Most of the stress that people experience comes from inappropriately managed commitments they make or accept,” writes David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.
Establish A Daily Routine
A daily routine can help you get more done and in less time because you already know the tasks at hand and how to accomplish them. You wouldn’t be wasting time trying to figure out what needs to be done and at what time. This goes hand in hand with making a list. Keeping a mental checklist doesn’t help because things can slip your mind. Include a time frame that each task is likely to take and stick to the plan.
Don’t Just Stand There
If you’re at the doctor’s or at the airport or waiting for an appointment, use the wait time to read a book, respond to mail or organise your week.
Take Care Of Yourself
A person who is unhealthy cannot be productive. Sleep, balanced diet and exercise are very important for optimum health. Making time for friends, family and hobbies is equally as important.