Have you ever found yourself at the end of a workday saying to yourself, “Have I done anything today? “I mean have I done anything important with my time today?”
The most precious asset we all have in our lives is time. Every second that passes by, well, that’s a second you can’t get back.
We waste time every day in all kinds of ways. Sometimes we focus on the wrong work, or the right work at the wrong time, or the right work at the wrong time, or we put too much into socialising or thinking things which don’t matter to us. Believe me, the list is very long. I want to share some of the principles which I use daily to effectively manage my time which I hope would be helpful to each one of you if applied in the right way.
I want to mention three simple rules to radically change how you use your time every day to make yourself more productive.
1. 80/20 Rule
The idea goes like this. All work is not created equal. To manage time effectively, you have to look at every task, every person, every project, and ask yourself this – Is this bit of work something that absolutely is important to the level that it’s strategic? That it’ll help us grow faster? Or is just work that’s gotta be done? That’s the 80%. The strategically important stuff, that’s the 20%.
Classification of every single bit of work into 80%er or 20%er will help you decide your priorities will inherently improve your day-to-day performance. It is not a good idea to spend most of your time on 80% pile as it is not productive as well as it is not helping you to grow.
You can think of the ways of automating (using programs), delegating or outsourcing the work you just gotta do (80% pile).
Note: Ask yourself, is this bit of job a 20%er or an 80%er? Then you’ll start allocating your time more effectively.
2. Find your most productive time of the day
Do you ever find yourself at work, looking at your to-do list, and saying to yourself, from where do I begin? We’ve all been there. And we know the first part of the answer, it’s the 20%, that’s the what. Now I want you to start thinking about the when. So you need to find the period of every day where you have your little mental peak, right where work feels almost fun, your concentration is at its peak, you feel like you can do anything.
Everyone has it at different times. Early in the morning, afternoon, late night. I don’t know what it is for you but I know what it is for me. It is the same every day, it’s early in the morning (around 7AM to 9AM). I sit in a quiet place during this time and I look at my to-do list and I start thinking in term of the 80-20.
If you don’t, spend some time in reflection, because knowing what to work on then working on your most productive time won’t help in getting more important things done and vice-versa is also true.
So deciding your 20% is just s step one. Step two is being very clear about the time of day your brain is truly prepared to work this 20%.
3. Minimising distractions in most productive time of the day
Even if you know your most productive time, you have to go a step further and make sure to protect that time.
The main problem is that: We very often say to people, yes.When in fact, sometimes, we have to say no. It goes like this. You’re sitting in your office. You’re working on something of interesting importance. And then, a colleague walks in, and ask for your help. Hey, can you read this report, and tell me if you find any errors or something like that.
Almost always, people say, sure, okay, yes. And you can’t do that all the time. We do, but we shouldn’t. You can still be nice to someone, helpful, by saying no, if you’ll help them later. We cannot say yes to 80% work in our most productive time.
Think about all the things that distract us at work. I want you to try and make sure they don’t distract as often as they could. Some obvious examples, Think about your cell phone. You’ve gotta take little chunks of time with your e-mail program and your smartphone, and turn em off.
I promise you the world won’t end, if, for 30 minutes, you turn them off and get focused. Stop allowing distractions to take you away from deep thought during your most productive time
So, in summary, the three things which will help you to manage your most valuable asset are:
- Classify your work into strategic(20%) and work that just needs to be done.
- Find the time of your day in which you feel most productive
- Turn off the distractions during the most productive time of the day
I hope the article helped you in some way or the other. Please let me know your comments at [email protected]
Thank you. Stay Tuned!