Did you do the analysis? Do you now understand where your time goes? Are you happy that you are using it in direct proportion to you priorities?
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I refer back to last week’s post when I talked about the lack of time being an obstacle we often put in the way of achievement. I suggested that you track your use of time over the week perhaps using toggl.com. Did you do it?
What’s holding you back?
Did you find that you were spending longer than you thought on a task? Were there some bad habits that you can break? Did you find too much time taken up meeting other people’s agendas rather than your own? Or are you simply trying to do too much?
I’m not claiming to have all the answers here but I do have a few tips that work for me:
- Limit the size of the ‘to do’ list. The experts say that we can only work on a maximum of three significant tasks in a day. I agree but I know we have more than 3 things on our ‘to do’ lists. I find it helpful to have a master list on a tool like Simpleology or Asana and then to have a daily list of not more than 3 major tasks.
- Use a timer to keep you focused. Set the timer for 20, 25 minutes or an hour and don’t allow yourself to be distracted during that time. At the end of it reward yourself with a short break. Take a 15 minute power walk, spend 5 minutes catching up with social media, or get a drink (water will do you more good than coffee!) Use the timer on your phone or a tool like http://www.tomato-timer.com/#
- Break the tasks down into bite sized chunks so that you can feel yourself making progress.
- Turn off your emails and social media. Tell your contacts that you don’t deal with emails until after noon. If something is really urgent use the phone. This will get people to consider just how urgent getting in touch with you is and means that you spend the first part of the day at least working on your own agenda not someone else’s.
- Do the difficult or distasteful things first. If you don’t they’ll be hanging over you all day or even longer. Get them out of the way and then you can work on the fun stuff.
- Break huge tasks into bite sized pieces. Start somewhere and get the momentum going, you might have to make a few changes later but at least you will be making progress.
- Work on the important tasks before they become urgent.
- Get some help. Share work with a colleague, bring in a virtual assistant, put the kids on the payroll. My daughter, aged 11, loved getting a ‘payslip’ and some cash for helping me to stuff envelopes. My son makes his money helping me with websites and computer tasks.
- Bin tasks that are not in line with your goals. If things have been on your master to do list for weeks and never made it to your daily list they can’t be that important and if they are you need to find a way to do them. (Note to self: book time out for new website & writing book!)
- Say ‘no’. I’m still working on this one!
So there you go. I hope these tips are helpful and that you will be able to say that a lack of time is no longer an obstacle. If you have any tips to add to the list please share them in the comments section here. We can all use all the help we can get.
My timer is about to go off so I’m off to get a glass of water and then move on to the next task.