Note: This is a guest post from Daniel M. Wood of Looking To Business
Ever wish the day was 2 hours longer? In today’s society we are expected to do more and more, and no one is giving us any extra time to do it.
But what if someone could give you some extra time?
These 7 tips have all saved me hours each and every week. They are easy to implement and will help you put all your energy into the right tasks.
1. Plan your week
Often we say “Every minute spent on planning saves 10 minutes in execution” and we all know it is true. If you are prepared and know exactly what needs to be done, how to handle unexpected situations and what to do first, you will be a lot more efficient. But for some reason we never get around to it, it takes time, is a hassle and well, we are lazy.
The fact is that if you spend 1 hour every Monday morning planning your week, writing down everything that needs to be done, prioritizing the list by importance and then deciding what should be done on Monday, what on Tuesday and so on, you will save hours during the week.
2. Plan your day
Just like when planning your week, spending some time on planning your day makes a large difference. Before I started planning my days I would often spend a lot of time checking my email or just looking for something important to do.
Now that I know exactly what I need to do today, and in what order, I can work efficiently from morning till the end of the day and get much more done then I used to.
3. Batch your activities
Every time you start a new activity, it takes time. You have to get everything you need in order to do the task, you need to get into the mindset and you need a little “warm up time” during which you don’t work as fast as when you have done something for a while. Once you are done with the task, you have to put everything away, and “cool off”.
This means that every time you start a new activity a lot of time is wasted. If you can let the work of each task build up so that they will take at least 50 minutes to complete you will spend a lot more time “in the zone” working at your highest level of activity.
Email is a great example. Instead of updating your inbox every few minutes, only check in once or twice a day.
4. When at work, work!
One problem we all have is that we don’t like to work (usually). Whenever a chance to stop working comes a long we usually lunge at it. Like when a friend comes in to your office to exchange some words, we are glad to put everything away and talk a little, often we will join them to the coffee machine and talk some more, before you know it you have lost 30 minutes of your work day.
When at work, work! Just because you are at the office it doesn’t mean you are working. Do everything you need to do during the day and once it is finished you can start talking to people and spend the time with your family, instead of talking during the day while you feel stressed over all the things you “really” should be doing.
5. Finish every activity you start
Leaving an activity half finished is a big source of stress. Whenever something is only half done, it gnaws at you and stops you from focusing on other activities.
On the other hand, when you complete a task a rush of endorphins is released into your system making you happy, pleased and relaxed. It gives you the energy to go on and complete the next activity.
Use this, once you start something, finish it. Get the endorphin rush and channel the new energy into completing the next task, giving you another boost and so on.
6. Focus all your energy on the most important activities
The much quoted 80/20 rule states that 80% of the value you create in a day will come from 20% of the activities you perform. Meaning, if you complete those 20% you will have done much, much more than if you complete all the rest.
What if you could focus all your time on those 20%? You bosses would love you because you generate so much value to the company and you will be able to work less, because all the time you spend is so well spent.
Go through all the activities you perform and see which ones are the most important. Find ways to focus more time on them.
7. Take a break!
The best way to save time is by relaxing! To be able to work hard and efficiently, you need to be of sound mind and be able to focus. Take a break once in a while and go for a walk, drink a cup of coffee or take a nap.
Just don’t let the relaxation take too much of your time!
Thank you very much for reading. Please let me know what you think and share any techniques you have to work more efficiently by leaving a comment below.
Daniel M. Wood is the owner of the popular blog Looking To Business where he writes about sales, motivation and success. If you want to read more he suggests you start with these articles as they are his best on the subject of Personal Development and Sales.
Photo by pastaboy sleeps