Seven optimum habits that will return several hours to your day
#1 Stop multi-tasking. It has been proven that multitasking significantly reduces brain power and focus. It takes your brain 4x longer to recognize and process each thing you are working on when you switch back and forth.
#2 Don’t check email the first 96 minutes at work. I know this is going to be a hard one. Email is seductive because we think there might be something more interesting waiting for us there. Resist the temptation and focus your first hour working on your most critical task. Why 96 minutes? You’ve probably heard of the Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule). This principle says that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80% of your results. 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your sales, 20 percent of your products or services will account for 80 percent of your profits, 20 percent of your tasks will account for 80 percent of the value of what you do, and so on. 20% of 8 hours is 96 minutes. Instead of wasting your day attempting to work on your critical task but never accomplishing that due to interruptions, give yourself the first 96 minutes of each day to accomplish what you need to. That accomplishment will energize you and give you more focus throughout your day. Try it for 3 days and see if you don’t see a marked difference in your productivity.
#3 Have a master list but schedule everything. Have you ever wondered why you never get everything done on your to-do list? It’s very simple, you need to DECIDE when you are going to do each task and schedule each into your calendar just as you do an appointment or a meeting.
#4 Prioritize your tasks. You might be struggling with deciding which task to do first, second, third. A simple answer is, “Is the task an ABCD or E task?”
A is defined as something that is very important that you must do because it will have serious positive or negative consequences if you do it or fail to do it. You may have more than one A task and you can prioritize those by A1, A2, and A3. B is a task that you should do but only has mild consequences such as returning an unimportant phone call or reviewing your email. C is a task defined as something that would be nice to do but there are no consequences such as having lunch with a coworker. D is a task that you can delegate. The rule is delegate everything that someone else can do so that you can free up more time for the A tasks that only you can do. E is a task that you can eliminate altogether and it won’t make any difference if you do, such as watching TV or surfing the net.
#5 When scheduling your tasks group similar tasks together. For example make all of your phone calls in one block of time, computer data entry in another block of time, run errands in another block, and so on. Not sure how long a task will take? The next time you do a routine task, time it.
#6 End each day by identifying your most critical task to work on first the next day.
#7 This is key to time management. Time is your most precious resource. Are you spending your time on your goals or are you just going through life busying yourself? My next blog post will discuss how to set SMART goals.
Which habits are you going to practice to get more time for YOU?