My life has been fairly hectic lately. Aside from S being poorly, I’ve had trips and meetings and work and all sorts to contend with, and I was ill myself last week. So I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity and time management, and how to be good at both of them. Here are six things I’ve come up with…
1. Use a Timer
Set a timer when you begin a task, and challenge yourself to finish within the allotted time. This can work really well to ensure you get your head down and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by shiny things.
2. Learn to say NO!
How many of the jobs on your to-do list are things you agreed to do against your better judgement? If you don’t want to do something, say no when you are asked.
3. Keep a clock on your desk
… or wherever you work. Using the clock display in the corner of your monitor is no good; you need a decent sized clock face that will sit in front of you and remind you of your time slowly ebbing away while you waste it organising your pens into a neat row.
4. Write down your time wasting activities
Make a list of the things you know you waste time doing. Whenever you find yourself doing something that’s time-wasting, add it to the list. Keep the list in a prominent position so that you can see it while you’re working. It will help you to be more mindful of time-wasting activities. It also helps to keep a list of things you actually need to do in plain sight so that you can keep on top of them.
5. Multitasking is a myth!
Yes, you might be able to write a blog post while researching the next one, replying to an email and updating your social media – but you’ll probably take longer to do them all simultaneously, than if you just focussed your mind and did one at a time. Multitsking slows down our thinking and dilutes our concentration.
6. Make use of down time
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? For men, possibly not that long; but for women, if you factor in time spent applying make up, styling hair and so on, that time can really add up. You could easily spend that time listening to a relevant podcast or audiobook. Time spent waiting in a queue or a waiting room could be spent reading or listening to relevant material. That needn’t mean carting a massive book about with you wherever you go; you can use an e-reader or even download the Kindle app on your mobile