Productive Environment Blog
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” – Warren Buffett
How often do you hang your head in frustration because 24 hours a day just isn't enough?
Time is one of the most valuable resources you have. You can never get it back once it's gone, so using time wisely is critical. If you feel you're constantly rushing from one task to another and never have a moment to breathe, it's time to explore opportunities to reclaim your time.
Some tips to consider:
Identify time wasters: A first step to reclaiming your time is identifying what's wasting it. For example, you may spend more time than you think scrolling through social media, watching TV, or browsing the internet. Don't get me wrong. These activities can have a legitimate purpose for relaxation, but when they're a weapon for procrastination, it's important to minimize them. Set a timer when you next begin any of these activities. You'll be surprised how time flies! Once you identify time wasters, you can consciously minimize them or cut them out of your day completely.
Set goals: Setting goals allows you to focus your time, energy, and attention on beneficial pursuits. Your goals can act as a compass while you budget your time for the day. Your day is like a bank account. There is only so much to go around before the resource runs out! Be realistic about what you can feasibly do. Overloading yourself day after day leads to feelings of defeat, frustration, and overwhelm. Putting more conscious thought into how you'll spend your time will help you avoid distractions.
Use a calendar or planner: A schedule can help you stay on track and maximize your time. A popular saying is, "What gets scheduled gets done." But not everyone enjoys being bound to the clock. For those who prefer more flexibility, time boxing may be more appealing. With time boxing, you allocate a specific duration to work on a broad category of tasks, e.g., marketing, social media, phone calls, etc. You are then free to complete tasks related to that category at any time, in any order, during the designated block. Batching tasks of a similar nature during a time block allows for exceptional productivity.
Delegate tasks: This can be a challenge for many, particularly perfectionists who believe only they can complete a task satisfactorily. If you have too much on your plate, consider delegating tasks to employees, coworkers, and family members or outsourcing to professionals. With proper training, their performance may surprise you, and you reclaim some time!
Take breaks: It seems counter-intuitive, but taking breaks is essential for staying productive and avoiding burnout. I struggle the most with this. Over and over, I tell myself, "I'll do just this one more thing before I take a break." One thing turns into two, and two turns into three. Next thing I know, 20 minutes have passed, and my next meeting is starting. Our brains (and bodies) don't work well under the strain of constant maximum effort. Stepping away from your tasks and doing something enjoyable for a few minutes can make a big difference.
Get adequate, quality sleep: Reclaiming time should never come at the expense of sleep! In fact, without enough quality sleep, ordinary tasks may take longer to complete, and you are more apt to make mistakes requiring re-work. Dr. Michael Breus, a Clinical Psychologist and Sleep Medicine Expert known as "The Sleep Doctor," states sleep improves mental health, mood, and brain function. During sleep, your brain creates and maintains critical memory formation and retention pathways. These processes help enhance learning and problem-solving skills essential for peak performance.
Be patient: Remember that reclaiming your time is a process that won't happen overnight. Celebrate your progress, and don't be too hard on yourself when things don't go as planned. Reflect on how you can improve next time, and strive to incorporate those changes.
Reclaiming your time is essential for living a more balanced and fulfilling life. So, where will you begin to reclaim yours?
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