“How do you find time to fit everything in?” one of my recent emails read.
Ah, the million-dollar question. The truth is, I struggle with the way evenings disappear into nights and how my best, most-focused hours are spent at my day job. I live in awe of people with successful side hustles and long to know their secrets. But… I’m working on it! So here are a few *realistic* time techniques that have been helping me lately.
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
I spent years hiding behind the ‘perfectionist’ card. But, if you want to be more productive, you need to realise that done is better than perfect. ‘Perfectionism’ is just an excuse for procrastination. The solution is to take action. Like, right now. There’s never a perfect time to start a project, take a chance or truly challenge yourself. The moment you shake off ‘perfectionism’ and start putting your stuff out there is the moment things start happening. So start now. Strive for completion.
PLAN YOUR DAILY INTERRUPTIONS
Identifying when you’re most mentally awake is critical to leading a more efficient life. I achieve peak productivity by creating a routine that goes beyond the conventional 9-6 grind. In short, I tackle all of my most difficult tasks in the morning and pre-plan my daily interruptions (aka coffee and internet breaks) throughout the the day. This way, you kill the temptation to procrastinate and are in control of your own time, rather than letting time control you. My schedule looks a little like: review content, attend meetings, browse Twitter, respond to emails, repeat. And it works!
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
‘If only I had time to write that book/start that website/work on that project.’ Sound familiar? I thought as much. But if an emergency came up, you’d find the time to deal with it. Living the life you want is all about prioritisation. Those 15 minutes you spent browsing your ex-BF’s Instagram could have been the beginning of a blog post. Everyone has 15 minutes a day (that’s 7 hours a month, FYI). So spend less time watching TV and browsing the sidebar of shame where possible. You’re only observing other people’s success vs. doing things to create your own.
Besides, Netflix binges are so much more enjoyable when they’re earned. Trust me.
THE TEN-MINUTE RULE
Mundane bits of life admin are painful, right? That’s why I only dedicate spare moments (e.g. while I wait for dinner or washing to finish) to accomplish as much life admin as quickly as possible. I don’t take any more than 10 minutes out of my day for these things, because there’s so much else I want to focus on! Think of how much you get the day before you go on holiday and try to recreate the attitude whenever necessary. It’s remarkable how much you can achieve while under fast-paced pressure.
Fact: The most effective individuals attempt tasks in short bursts of concentration.
LEARN TO MONO-TASK
I’m a fan of what time management experts call the ‘Pomodoro Technique’. It couldn’t be more simple: while at work, focus on one thing for 25 minutes and have a pre-planned break as mentioned above. 25 minutes may sound easy. But that’s 25 minutes of focused work on ONE task. No emails. No Facebook. No multi-tasking. Nada! Some people use an old school egg timer, others claim apps like Focus Lock can help. Try a few tools and find the ones that work for you. You’ll be amazed at how much your life improves as a result.
Do you have any favourite time management techniques? If so, I’d love to hear them!