We all have 24 hours each day, seven days every week, 30/31 days for the month, and 12 months in a year. However, the disparity sets in on how we make use of them, and subsequently, what we achieve with them.
Apart from the time allocation, we all have some other things in common that make up our activities: the urgent or not-urgent, the important or not-important, and where they meet each other. A better understanding of these can help one in knowing how to make the most of their lives.
A very wrong orientation you’d have to deal with is to think that more work always equate to more results. The truth in many cases is that less is more, or less can be more. So if you have been doing more but wonder why you don’t seem to get more output, or believe you can get more output, here are some ways you can get about doing less work but getting more done. The freedom and ease this brings, in addition to better results, are enough to make you want to look into these steps some more and make sure you adjust to them.
Remember the 80/20 rule? It applies in many aspects of life and the world in general, and here, it does, too. It says that you actually achieve 80 percent of your results through only 20 percent of your work. The realisation is annoying, yet can be liberating. You say, “You mean that most of the things I spend much energy on are actually not so productive?” Well, you evaluate it yourself. a careful evaluation will show that the more mundane activities actually consume more time and require more energy, than the ones that have higher potentials for output. Knowing this will help you cut down on those activities. It include things like time spent checking mails, housekeeping, organising files, etc. They ought to be done, but they shouldn’t take priority.
Multitasking may seem the in thing these days. It was probably one of the things your company asked if you were capable of during the interview before handing down the job, and you boldly said yes. So you may be surprised to hear now that it isn’t really as productive as you think. In fact, in some ways it limits you. Concentrating allows you to do better at a task, because you are easily able to flow with it, and put the bits together. On the other hand, when you try to take on more things simultaneously, the flow isn’t there for any of the tasks. Sometimes you waste more time trying to figure out what next to do for each one of them.
Prioritise. It’s as important as how many times you’ve heard it; even more. Give top position to those activities that have more value, especially in line with your goals. Take them one after the other. Focus on one, complete it, then move on to the next. Concentrate more on things that move you up in your career and help you grow, instead of trivial things.
Break your time into slots, judging from the average time you need to complete one task or get as far in it as possible. It could be one hour; that is pretty easier to work with. So you take on your most important tasks, and give yourself at most one hour to get on them. By the end of that time, you can tell whether or not to continue if you haven’t finished, or move on to something else. If you think one hour his much, 30 minutes may as well work.
Deadlines keep you in check. They move you to action and helps you discipline yourself to finishing. Set deadlines for each task. Work with your deadline and make sure you finish that task within set time. More of this makes you more disciplined, and you feel more like an achiever, whereas, uncompleted tasks deplete your morale. Deadlines also help you to be decisive about what to do and when.
Having so much meetings and appointments can be very distracting, and will give you less time to concentrate and get things done. Check your schedules, and if it seems cluttered, go through everything and see if you really must take all those appointments and meetings. You should get rid of those you can avoid. Afterwards, get your to-do list for each day, so when other tasks and events come up you can be able to tell outright whether or not you have room for them. Your ability to say no when you should is also important.
Most tasks will always seem cumbersome and intimidating at the start. Attempting to tackle them just like that will cause a lot of time wastage, and can even demoralise you. The best to do each time is to begin by planning, where you break the tasks down into smaller parts that can be tackled easily. Finishing one and getting onto another is very encouraging and will boost your energy.
As much as this may sound old fashioned to some, using a list on paper is very helpful. Make a list of all you have to do, and keep it before you. And for each finished task, mark it off on the list. The list helps you remain accountable and also encourages you to keep doing more as you look at the ones you’ve already accomplished.
Breaks refresh you. You get reenergised to work even harder. But when you spend very long hours at a stretch on tasks, you get weaker, lose motivation, and your pace is slowed. It is best to take short breaks in between tasks. If you allotted time for each task, say hourly, you can take short (5-10 minutes) break after each slot. This becomes even more important when you’ve been sitting all the while. Standing, moving and stretching a little also have health benefits.
Working hard is not always the same as working smartly. Evaluating your methods is important. You are better off when you stay motivated, energetic, and passionate about your tasks. So, strive to keep yourself just in the right mood, and see how much more you get done faster.