Time is our most valuable resource, yet so many of us let it pass without much thought. We often don’t stop to think of the fact that we will never get our time back. It passes and that’s it; it’s gone forever. Then suddenly we wake up and realize we didn’t do all the things we wanted to do. Being aware of the fragility of time is the first step to spending it wisely; the second is knowing how to optimize it. Here are a few tips for being more productive and getting more done in less time.
Pay Attention To How You Start Your Mornings
How we start our mornings sets the tone for the rest of the day. Are you waking up on a productive note or are you playing around on social media as soon as you pick up your phone? Be conscious about what you’re doing first thing in the morning. One productive action leads to another productive action and vice versa, so it’s important to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Take an inventory of your habits in the morning and change the ones that are setting you back and absorbing your time.
I tend to work in cycles. This applies to daily/weekly cycles and seasonal cycles. For example, I pack in extra work in the summer/fall months so that I can enjoy the holidays with my family and spend winter traveling and snowboarding. Instead of thinking of work on the typical 9-5pm, Monday through Friday hours, think of how you might be able to work in cycles in order to free up more full days. Maybe it makes more sense to work three 12 hour days than five 8 hour days. Of course this may be more difficult to do if you have a strict company policy on scheduling, but use this idea as a starting point for freeing up more time by working in atypical cycles.
Create Short Term End Points
It’s much easier to stay motivated during those long haul power sessions if you have a mental end point. You could call this an end goal, but it’s more than that. It’s more of a psychological hack than simply setting a goal. When it seems we’re on a never-ending hamster wheel, it can feel like no matter how much we work, it will never be complete. That thought can kill motivation. Instead of only visualizing your work as some grand end goal like retiring and sailing the world on a yacht, think of more short term goals. Always have something to look forward to. This can be anything small such as a date you’re excited for on Friday night or a cool vacation you have coming up. Either way, compartmentalize your work with shorter term end points to stay motivated.
Are you guilty of trying to do everything yourself? Welcome to the club! While it’s admirable to be able to juggle many things, sometimes you need to pass tasks off to other people. Whether that’s your house cleaning, accounting, data entry or travel planning, try to find ways to delegate tasks to other people. With sites like Task Rabbit, you can find someone to handle just about anything, so you can focus on staying productive.
Want more tips? Check out our book recommendations below for being more productive: