With layoffs increasing daily, you need to give yourself an edge in the workplace. By recapturing wasted minutes here and there, and redirecting that time to a more productive use, you can make an obvious improvement in your daily productivity.
Time-management experts tell how to get more done in less time, with less stress, and thus, with greater efficiency.
The following time-saving techniques will help you have more time for the things you need to do in your work.
Your life consists of seven vital areas: health, family, financial, intellectual, social, professional and spiritual. You need not spend equal amounts of time in each area, nor do you necessarily need to spend time in each one every day. But if, on the whole, you are spending a sufficient quantity and quality of time in each area, your life will be balanced. On the other hand, if you ignore one of them (to say nothing of two or three), your life will be out of balance and you will be in danger of sabotaging your success. For example, if you fail to take time for your health now, you will probably have to take time for illness later. Ignore your family for the sake of your work and, in a few years, you may find you don’t have a family.
the power of the pen
A pen has a better memory than the keenest mind. Get into the habit of making a list of the things you need to do in a day planner, on a desk pad, in an electronic organiser or any method you prefer. This will free your mind to focus on the big picture rather than on all the details. Details are important but it’s better to manage them with a pen rather than with your memory.
do planning daily
It’s said that most people do not plan to fail but a lot of people fail to plan. And failure to plan is a plan to fail. Take the time each night to take control of the most precious resource at your command: the next 24 hours.
Plan your work, then work your plan each day. Write a to-do list that includes all your have-to’s and wantto’s for the next day. Without a plan for the day, you can easily get distracted and spend your time responding to the loudest voice rather than attending to the things that will enhance your productivity.
Your to-do list will include crucial and not-so-crucial items. Despite the fact that most people want to be productive, when given the choice between crucial and not-so-crucial items, they too often end up doing the less important things because they’re easier. So prioritise your to-do list each night. Put a 1 next to the most important item, then 2, 3 and so on. The next day, tackle the items in the order of their importance. You may not complete everything on your list, but you will finish the most important things. This is about working smarter, not harder.
The most effective planning in the world won’t substitute for doing what needs to be done. We procrastinate, putting off important things because we don’t experience enough pain for not doing them or enough pleasure for doing them.
To get going on something you’ve been postponing, create in your mind enough pain for not doing it (or enough pleasure for doing it). Take a procrastinated project and turn it into a game. Work with one thing in front of you at a time, so other things don’t distract you. Break each task down into bite-sized, manageable pieces. Get started on the first step, and you will likely continue the job to completion. And hold out the promise of a reward to yourself when the job is done.
Stress is caused in part by differences between our self-expectations and reality.
The incongruity causes disappointment, which breeds stress.
For example, if you’ve parked your car in the company lot at 9 am, you probably expect it will still be there when the workday ends. But what if at 5 pm, you discover your car has been stolen? Might you be stressed?
Of course, you will! You expected the car to be there at 5 pm, but reality fell short of the expectation and created a mega-disappointment.
But if at 5 pm you locate your car exactly where you left it, you will experience no stress, because expectation and reality were in line with each other. Similarly, most people have an expectation that they’re going to “get it all done,”
when in reality they don’t.
The result is stress over the competing assumptions.
This is a serious and pervasive condition in the workplace.
The myth is the notion that we’re going to get it all done, when in fact we never do, and even if somehow we could, a hundred more things remain that we would probably take on. We will leave undone far more than we ever get done. We will accomplish only a fraction of what we could have.
Our productive lives are like a sandy beach. Take one grain of sand and place it in the palm of your hand. Let that represent all that you accomplish in this life and let all the other billions of grains of sand represent what you could have. You could have read a chapter in that book last night, or you could have made those additional phone calls earlier this morning, or you could have had pizza for lunch today—there are so many possibilities.
Note that your productivity is never measured by what you’ve left undone.
It’s measured only by what you accomplish.
When your goal is to get it all done, you will have a tendency to focus on the quantity to the ultimate neglect of quality, causing your productivity to suffer.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that when you go to a funeral home to pay your respects to a departed friend, the focus is always on what that person did in his life, not on what he did not. We celebrate other people’s achievements, and we don’t bemoan their failings. Yet, in our own lives, many of us beat ourselves up over what we’re not doing and what we’ve failed to accomplish.
So stop focusing on what you are not getting done, and direct your efforts toward what is truly the most valuable use of your time in light of your commitments, responsibilities and life goals.
You’ll be happier—and you may even keep a job that you might otherwise have lost.