How can you use your work time more effectively?
We frequently hear statements like “there just wasn’t enough time in the day” or “I haven’t got time today I’m too busy”. The truth is our day will end and either it’s been productive or not. The school of thought is that working smarter, not harder is essential to completing the day productively. Let’s explore some of the key attributes to help us achieve that.
We can start by dispelling some of the common mistakes. Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster, and relieving stress. There are enough hours in the day.
Get enough rest, healthy food and exercise
You can’t expect to work well if you haven’t slept well enough, eaten and exercised. I touched on this in a previous blog, but most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. You know if you’re getting enough. Listen to your body, and don’t underestimate the value of sleep.
Don’t spend your precious willpower fighting a battle with yourself before breakfast. Either set your alarm for the time you intend to get up or recreate “snooze” time the night before by getting in bed earlier and allowing yourself to slowly drift off.
Create a day plan
Create a clear plan for the day and begin early. Procrastination soaks up your time. Begin with your plan setting out the most important tasks first. As you progress you will achieve a sense of accomplishment, which in turn has the effect of spurring you on to do more. You can use your calendar to help plan your day. White space is wasted time, but you should also allow yourself time in between tasks to take a break.
Take a power nap midday
My personal experience of taking 5-10 mins resting every now and then and switching completely off from work is positive. I have found myself revitalised and full of energy for the next task by simply lying still for a short period. Find a quiet, dark place. Switch your thoughts away from work and keep still.
If you can’t nap, try to get out and go for a walk. The switch from desk to outdoor again can make a real difference. Energy levels increase and you will think more effectively.
Avoid getting side-tracked
Today, there are many things that can side-track our trail of thought and concentration. These include switching to social media, looking at phones, and of course interruptions from other work colleagues. Put your phone on silent. Close your social media browsers and ask people not to disturb you politely, while you complete your task. Giving yourself that space to focus will help you get your assignments completed.
Don’t do more; do less
That seems a bit of contradiction to this title, but it does make sense. Slow down, notice what needs to be done, and concentrate on those things. Do less things that create more value, rather than more things that are mostly empty.
Stop saying: I don’t have time
You may think you don’t have time to exercise, but if someone offered to pay you £50,000 to exercise five times a week this year, you would likely find time make it happen. So, it’s not a matter of lacking time. A more accurate statement is “it’s not a priority.” Every time you’re tempted to claim a lack of time, try using this language instead. Talking about priorities instead of time reminds you that time is a choice, and if you’re not happy with how you’re spending your time now, you can choose differently.
Stay in the moment
When you are with your family, be with your family. There is a time and place for everything, and you do not need to think about work right now. Don’t multi-task your life.
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