Time is a valuable resource, just as valuable as money, if not more. Unlike with money, you can’t ever get back the time you once spend on something. We’re all looking for ways to get more done in less time, whether it is in business or in personal life. Here are some things that can help:
1. Plan ahead
To get the most of your time, you should keep daily and weekly schedules. You might remember the things that you need to do even if you don’t write them down, but creating an actual plan helps you stay determined and focused. In addition, it saves you energy which would otherwise be spent on making all decisions during the day. What’s more, when you don’t plan your days and weeks, it’s more tempting to procrastinate. When you know exactly what and when you need to do, it’s much more likely that you’ll do that instead of spending your time on distractions.
2. Remove distractions
When you’re working on something, you’ll get it done quicker if you don’t get distracted. The biggest distraction is your smartphone. With all the notifications from social media, email, and messages, you won’t be able to focus on what you’re doing. Even if your phone isn’t constantly ringing, it will be tempting to use it when you should be focusing on the task at hand. Put it away when you’re working on something that you want to get done in less time. It can be hard to resist the urge to check the phone once it rings, but you can always turn off the sound before you put it away.
3. Set short deadlines
You are likely to spend as much time on your work as you have made available for the work. It’s not the exact definition but this is called the Parkinson’s Law. It means that, if you set aside an entire day so that you could do something that you need two hours for, you are likely to perceive the task as daunting and more complicated than it is. Therefore, it will actually take you an entire day to do something that you really only need two hours for. Instead of influencing the quality of your work, most of the extra time that you spend on doing the task will be wasted. You’ll spend it on distractions such as social media and emails, procrastinate and think about irrelevant details. One of the ways to get more done in less time is to use the Parkinson’s Law. Set deadlines that are significantly shorter than the ones you’ve been setting before. When you have limited time, you are less likely to get distracted and procrastinate.
4. Do the small tasks all at once
A lot of your time probably goes to managing administrative tasks, making phone calls, answering emails, and using social media. These small tasks can take much less of your time if you do them all at once. Meaning, you should dedicate an hour or two during the day to do these things instead of doing them throughout the day. This is when scheduling your days and weeks comes in handy again.
5. Align your work with your body clock
Your sleep-wake cycle is your body clock, called chronotype. While some people are energized in the mornings, others are night owls and work best at night. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. We are energized in the morning, experience a drop after lunch, and get energized again in the late afternoon. One of the best ways to get more done in less time is to keep your chronotype in mind when planning days and weeks. Structure the tasks around the time when you feel more energized, and it will likely take you less time to get more done.
6. Create rituals
Your brain can associate things like time of the day and your physical environment with a certain type of work. So, if you create a ritual around the most important categories of your work you are likely to get more done in less time. A ritual can involve the time of the day and your physical location when you are completing a certain task. For instance, maybe you prefer reading emails in your living room with your morning coffee, while you take Zoom calls in the afternoon in your home office. You’ll need to repeat things for at least a few weeks for them to become rituals. Once they are a ritual, it will take you less time to do your tasks.
7. Don’t be fully booked
People often assume that they’re most productive when they’re fully booked, but this is not true. When you’re booked for 100% of your day, you have no time for inspiration, creativity, spontaneity, and unexpected tasks. Don’t forget that being busy isn’t the same as being productive.