Time is an often overlooked and under appreciated gift, yet how we spend each of the 24 hours we have in a day is the largest determinant of our level of success in life. Time is an incredibly valuable and scarce resource, yet so often we don’t invest out time where it truly matters.
This article is less about time management and more about offering advice on how to squeeze the most out of your day, in terms of productivity and lifestyle, because after all, the reason you want to optimise your productivity is so you have more time to do the important and meaningful stuff, such as spending time with your kids rather than being glued to your laptop.
1. ORDER GROCERIES ONLINE
Think of how much time you could save if you were to simply order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door. The drive to the store, the time in the store, packing bags, driving back, unpackaging bags, not to mention the potential for traffic. Setting essential items to repeat on a weekly or monthly basis is a great way to keep on top of things without having to exert much mental energy.
2. GET A CLEANER
It’s true that not everyone can afford a cleaner, but this can be such a time (and sanity) saver, particularly for busy moms. In the alternative, you can always turn cleaning into a fun game where the kids get involved with cleaning as playtime activity; or set yourself a timer and see how much you can get done in just thirty minutes making cleaning a slightly more engaging and manageable task.
3. WORK REMOTELY
If possible, see if you can work remotely, from home, in a way that enables you to work flexible hours; this way, your time is your own. This not only saves time, but also money, as online courses are often cheaper due to reduced overheads plus you don’t need to travel to the course or get overnight accommodation.
4. ORGANISE YOUR TIME
The convenience of online working and online studying means you have much more time to enjoy your life, and for that matter build a life. We spend far too much time living in reaction to work – trying to fit our lives in, yet it doesn’t have to be that way; the amount of time you can save by having a good planning system in place is phenomenal… a lot of “time management” comes down to first planning your tasks so that you can keep on top of things with ease.
5. RELY ON A TEAM
Most entrepreneur’s feel like they need to do everything on their own and the concept of delegating important tasks can be quite a scary prospect. If you have a small business, you’ll want to assemble a team of employees or a number of committed freelancers that you outsource tasks to on an ad-hoc basis, as having a team in place to delegate tasks to is the most important principle for entrepreneurs to follow.
Nowadays, you can outsource anything from quality company formations to website design and even personal fashion; whilst it can be more expensive, it often better to leverage other people’s existing knowledge, resources and contacts as in the long run it will save you a lot of time and money.
6. THE PARETO PRINCIPLE
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule suggests 20% of our activities account for 80% of the outcome. In simple terms, you want to focus on what tasks are going to have the greatest impact and get these done first. Often, we can get lost in the small tasks that create a lot of “busyness” and detract from the time we need to run our “business”. The best way to go about this is to write a list of all your tasks for the day, week, or month and then determine which tasks are going to create the greatest impact; as an example, is it the 50 sales calls you keep putting off or is it the hours you keep spending on aesthetic design.
7. WORK WHEN YOU WORK
Brian Tracy, a pre-eminent time management expert advocates the idea that you work when you work and rest when your rest; meaning, if you are sitting down to work – ensure you have a singular laser like focus on the task at hand in a distraction free environment. Today, particularly when working from home, people multitask by working with their laptop on their lap whilst having the TV on in the background, or even dropping in and out of a conversation with their spouse. By fully working when you work, you can reduce the amount of time you are needing to work – and you’ll get the added benefit of being able to fully rest when you rest.
8. USE LISTS
The world’s most successful people have lists for everything, and these tasks get ticked off each and every day. There are a number of apps such as Wunderlist that will help you keep track of your lists, and the great thing with an app like this, is that you can create a number of categories in addition to a curated priority list.
There’s power in progress. Indeed, each time you tick something off your list, you physically receive an endorphin rush and as you build more and more momentum, your productivity increases exponentially and creates a positive snowball effect.