There’s no denying that our modern lives are busy. We’ve become slaves to email; dictated to by our diaries; and smartphones have become ubiquitous in our day-to-day lifestyles.
That said, why is it that most of us don’t give time management the credit it’s due? After all, it’s a hugely important part of our lives and can be especially beneficial when it comes to running a successful business or being an effective employee.
So that’s why I’ve put together this short survival guide on saving time, which will help you work smarter, not harder.
What are you really good at? If you’ve never asked yourself that question then now’s the time. This is because by focussing on what we’re good at inevitably leads to more productive days. Don’t spend hours pondering over a task that really isn’t your forte – delegate it to someone else. You don’t have to delegate everything, but even if you can offload a few tasks it will free up your day no end. So start by making a list of your strengths now and play to them wherever possible.
2. Plan every day
Okay, so we can’t always make a plan and stick to it, but not having one in the first place is even worse. That’s why you should spend around 10 minutes every morning (or even the night before) planning your day. It doesn’t need to be highly detailed and it can be subject to change – although, if possible, try not to change it too much. Make a simple list of all the jobs you need to complete and then assign a number next to each one so that you have a dedicated order.
3. Start with the most important task
Now, important and urgent are not necessarily the same thing. So it’s up to you to decide which of your tasks are truly important and, therefore, going to bring the greatest benefits to you and your business. Once you have decided, this is the task you should tackle first. It may even take you the whole day or longer, but it will inevitably be worth it.
4. Focus on one task at a time
This leads on from the previous point and is equally as crucial. Focussing on one task at a time will allow you to complete it to the best of your ability. Jumping back and forth between tasks will not. In fact, each time you switch to another task your brain loses efficiency. By focusing on one task you will gain much more time in the long run.
5. Limit your workday
You might be thinking, how on earth can reducing my workday lead to more time? It’s a perfectly fair question and one that I’ll answer right now. Basically, we are all naturally more productive when we know that something has to be done by a certain time. For example, the day before you’re due to go on holiday is usually one of the most productive days of your year. You know that you have to leave the office by a certain time and that all your outstanding jobs have to be completed before you go. This makes you push yourself to finish them so that you can go away with a totally clean conscience in terms of work. This technique can be employed every single day. Simply give yourself a time by which you have to leave the office and watch how subconsciously productive it makes you.
So that’s my short virtual assistant’s survival guide to saving time. Why not try each of my suggestions and see for yourself the benefits they can afford. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Your turn: Do you have any saving time tips? Let me know in the comments below.