Oh the ever elusive minutes that seem to slip through our fingers so easily! Would you love some miracle way to create more time for yourself? Sorry, I’m not going to give you that but in this article, I’ll share some of the strategies I’ve implemented for myself to help me stay focused and get more done, without magicking up any extra hours in the day.
Strategy #1 – Multi-task
Ok, the title isn’t strictly true as multi-tasking now seems to have been proven to be less effective than single-tasking, but I’m talking about tackling multiple tasks in the same time period. I’ll give an example, I’ll bring the laundry basket downstairs with me in the morning – and while the kettle is boiling, I’ll load it up and put it on. It’s one journey and the activity is taking place in the same room. Also means I can hear when the kettle clicks and get that cuppa brewing! Likewise, sometimes, while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil I’ll do some kitchen based exercise – its a thing!
Strategy #2 – Headspace
We’re conditioned, especially at work to be (and look), busy all the time, however the simple act of always being busy doesn’t mean that we are focusing on the right things. I recall reading publications related to my profession in a previous job, and colleagues would comment on how could I get away with reading magazines at work! Of course, its an exercise in perception of value!
So some different ways you can get some headspace – at work, or home;
take 5 minutes every hour to look at what you’ve achieved and what you need to make progress on in the next 55 minutes
have a wander, ideally outside in the fresh air, but if not, then down a corridor or up and down some stairs; get moving and a change of perspective will often trigger clarity
allow yourself some time to day dream; let your thoughts wander and process what’s been going on in your head.
Strategy #3 – Get focused
The quickest and most successful way I have found to get myself more time is to get really clear on what I need to do, why and by when. This principle applies itself whether you are working for yourself or someone else, whether that work is paid or unpaid, its a simple strategy that I apply in my life consistently.
So, firstly, that to-do list, it’s never going to go away…sure you’ll tick things off, but its a never ending cycle because there is always new stuff being added to it. I like to think of it as a ‘do-when’ list instead. Begin by writing everything down that needs to be done – be prepared to get a little freaked out by the volume of stuff you’re holding in your head; this may be an EPIC list but by jotting it down your creating space to think and get clarity. Then group your list using coloured pens by what’s nice or need to do, what needs to happen right now (does it really?), this week, month or sometime – if ever.
Add to the paper-remember its just a visible representation of what’s in your head!
The clock wont stop ticking until you’re dead, but for most of us, EVEN those who already max out their time, there are things we can do which mean that we can be more productive and efficient, sometimes the activity may even seem counter-productive, but try it!