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6 Actionable Ways To Get More Done In Less Time
I came across this wonderful analogy in time while researching one of my events:
“Think of the airline industry. Their goal is to have a full cabin on every flight. They don’t really like empty seats. So the prices are high. And dynamic. As the day of the flight approaching, prices continue Good luck to anyone on a tight budget – if they want a seat on a flight at the last minute!Then it becomes a crazy house, the same seat that would have originally cost you probably 30-40% off less.
But once the plane has taken off, an empty seat is worthless. It’s a loss for the airline. There’s no way they can get money for it. As expensive as the seat was, once it’s gone, it loses all value.
The same can be said of “time”. A very expensive commodity indeed. As the clock ticks, it becomes more and more valuable. You would kill to save those precious moments just before something was done. Do anything to have a little more time at your disposal! Unfortunately, you cannot stop the clock.
And once it’s gone, it ceases to be expensive. It’s nothing!”
There’s one very simple thing I like to say,
Time passes = Time fails
Let me give you some statistics. The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or about 7 per hour, or 50-60 per day. The average downtime takes 5 minutes, totaling about 4 hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of these interruptions are generally classified as “low value” or “no value”, creating approximately 3 hours of wasted time per day.
By taking 1 hour a day for independent study, 7 hours a week, 365 hours a year, one can learn at the pace of a full-time student. In 3-5 years, the average person can become an expert in their chosen subject, dedicating just one hour a day.
If only we had this hour that we could take away from our crucial time (set aside to be lost)
I know it’s difficult. The habit of wasting time is hard to beat, especially the blissful joy of doing nothing. And then running around in blind panic at the 11th hour – not much fun though. Here are a few things you could do that have worked for me, if you’re looking to manage your time better:
1. Put a price on your time
Yes, estimate the cost of your time. You can’t compare it to some stalwarts in the industry, but consider yourself quite successful when you do.
Depending on how much you earn (or spend, if you’re a student) each year, you can count the number of productive days in a year and the number of working hours in a day. Get your own hourly rate ;)… If you don’t know the value of your time, who will? I do this exercise every time I review my pay rates for clients.
Once you have that estimate, the next time you feel like spending your time on something, you can compare whether it’s worth it or not. The concept of value in marketing is defined as benefits/costs. (Some even consider it benefits minus costs). Discover your own version of the benefits based on the cost of your time, i.e. time value.
Now, I’m not saying you do everything this way. But many of your trivial activities could pass this simple test before you decide to undertake them. It will just give you an idea of how much valuable time you usually waste doing things you don’t really need to do.
2. SWOT Analysis
You must have heard of SWOT, right? It is an analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Usually this is done at the organizational level vis-à-vis the competitors to understand how far we have come and what lies ahead.
But who said you can’t do it yourself?
SWOT can be useful for prioritizing your time and tasks. Between all the elements of your SWOT, I suggest you focus on your strengths. Give more time to the things you are good at and play to your strengths. This will allow you to get more out of your productive hours. But it will also help you figure out which of your weaknesses can you spend how much time on, so you can turn them into opportunities and, eventually, into your strengths. It’s totally doable, if you focus on the pursuit of “wellness”.
If you can’t imagine a long-term situation, don’t panic. Take one day at a time. I would say, dedicate some time each day to your SWOT elements. Some will be high priority and some will be low. But be sure to take some time. As mentioned at the very beginning of the post, the simple fact of taking 1h every day can allow you to acquire expertise in a particular field (condition applied – one hour dedicated). Just find out the time first for your priorities.
You will be amazed at how much buffer time will remain each day for you to decide how much to spend or trivial and non-essential. SWOT has always come to my rescue. He will do the same for you – I guarantee it!
3. Wake up early
It doesn’t sound like a time management trick, but trust me, it is. When I started getting up early and tried to finish 50% of my tasks before the rest of the world even woke up, it gave me a very nice illusion of having more than 24 hours in my day. I had more time for myself, my family, my job – everything. This habit works wonders.
The most important things are done early on, leaving time for hobbies and fun and, most importantly, doing more important things than you expected! It’s a welcome illusion, I would say. Here are some morning activities that can start your day.
4. Create to-do lists
Creating to-do lists is a classic time management tool. I keep a whiteboard right above my workstation where all the tasks go. It’s the easiest way to tackle your endless list of works. Keep crossing out what has been done and keep writing what needs to be done further.
Place it strategically where your eyes keep rolling occasionally. If you’re a more organized person, you can even color-code your task whiteboard. The main thing is to shame yourself if the list of crossed out items is smaller.
And don’t be ashamed to jot things down. Once you have an exhaustive list, you can do your SWOT and prioritize too! Find out what is most important and what needs to be done immediately.
5. Here, Now
If it takes 2 minutes to do something, do it now. Don’t procrastinate even over very small things. It’s often the 2-minute tasks that, when stacked, look like an Everest you have to conquer. It’s that 2-minute pile of noodles that is often seen as a crisis. And believe me, a big part of crisis management is dealing with these simple things effectively. It’s not so bad. We just turn it into one.
It would also be advised that you do the things you fear the most first. Or in horror. This inertia of having made good efforts is carried over to the rest of the day (or session). You cannot succeed initially. But little by little, you’ll get into the habit of facing your fears and getting things done in time – that’s two nailed things!
6. Kill your distractors
Have you heard of the Pareto principle? Pareto’s 80-20 rule, when applied to time management, says – 80% of your half-hearted time only generates 20% of the results.
And it’s not rocket science that your 80% unfocused time is the result of too much distraction. Kill those distractors. Free high-speed internet, unbuffered YouTube streaming, endless social networks and their apps, so many relationship issues to worry about, many trivial things to think about, unnecessary people issues – a lot of work, a modern life is !
It is possible to keep these distractions at bay. A little willpower is enough. And what starts with the will quickly becomes a habit. Gradually remove your distractions if you want to achieve anywhere in life. Because what does not take you towards your goals, takes you away from them!
There are many other ways to better manage your time. But the first step for all of them is – your sheer, unerring determination to use these non-renewable and all-important resources – in a better and wiser way.
The difference between a Steve Jobs and a normal job is – how you use your 24 hours!
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