Here are four things you can do that might help you to regain control at work, at home or in general life.
Ok, it seems like a fairly fundamental tip but the question is how well do you actually implement it?
Most people have some form of a list whether it is mental, written on post it notes, a pad or kept electronically. Having a list can be a great place to start but some end up jumping from task to task not really finishing anything, other people might have a list but don’t know where to start and some don’t have a list at all!
Once you have your list, prioritizing tasks can depend entirely on the way you work. A few suggestions include:
- numbering your tasks, starting at one and knocking them off one by one.
- group your tasks by time sensitivity and tackle the most urgent ones first.
- group tasks by hard and slow or quick and easy (if there is not specific time limit involved).
By crossing off what you have done, you get a sense of achievement, you worry less about forgetting something and you are likely to put your time to better use. All round meaning you improve productivity and save time.
2. Consolidate – Interruptions destroy processes and eat time!
Interruptions come in many forms and sizes from text messages, phone calls, emails, checking Facebook to making coffee. Whilst some things are essential such as answering the phone and having your cuppa, other things could be consolidated a little bit. For example, do you have your email programs open all day, with the idea that as soon as you get a new email you can deal with it and be done with it? Whilst that can work for some people, each time you deal with that new email you are interrupting your current train of thought for your current task.
Why not try setting a time to deal with all your emails in one go at various points through the day. Then you have a block of time devoted to one task making it easier to stay focused, be more productive and without the interruptions save time too.
3. Accept ‘good enough’ – one for the perfectionists and those with exceedingly high standards.
This is something many people (myself included) find a challenge. Our standards will always vary from the next person, but for those who like things to be done ‘just right’, accepting less from yourself can be a real challenge and can seem like it isn’t an option.
The thing is, the majority of what we do doesn’t need to be perfect, it isn’t expected by anyone else and most of the time it isn’t really necessary. The extra time that we put into making something ‘just right’ often goes completely unnoticed by everyone else. If we stop trying to make it ‘perfect’ to our own standard, we would save that extra bit of time and be able to get more things done. Now I’m not saying be a bit hap hazard, don’t it effort in or be complacent – that doesn’t help anything and you will probably have to do it again! By finishing something to a ‘good enough’ acceptable standard , you can often save time and reduce your own levels of stress.
4. Cut out extras from your schedule and ‘just be’
Being busy seems to be part of our culture now. There are so many things out there to help us get more done and optimize our schedule, but what if we actually had less to do in the first place? That could give you back time.
Examine your scheduled and see what you actually do, write down everything you do for a week. Everything. Look at how much time you spend cooking, cleaning, working, walking the dog, watching TV, shopping, browsing the Internet, checking Facebook etc. At the end of the week go back through it and work out how many of those activities were essential, what didn’t you do because you did one of those instead? Can you cut something out and do something more enjoyable?
We are all so busy that sometimes just need to be, sit with a drink and let our minds wander, stare out the window, listened to birds, have a soak in the bath etc. Some people would see that as a waste of time, but if you keep it in its place is it really a time waster. You have the chance to have a little bit of time to recharge your batteries, not be rushing around, relax physically, mentally and emotionally. If you are recharged you can then carry on with your busy schedule and have the ability to get it all done without running on empty.
Sometimes we can define our life by what we do rather than who we are. Having these few minutes a week can keep you focused on what makes you happy and what you appreciate in life, it can recharge your batteries and make it possible for you to deal with whatever comes your way. Not such a waste of time in my view.