8 killer tips to work smarter, be more productive and conquer a myth
There’s days and there’s DAYS. Those days that are so full we almost dread them from the moment we wake up in the morning. How did we get to this? Why am I late with everything?
But most importantly, how do I make sure this doesn’t happen again? EVER?
Let me come right out of the gate and say that time management is a myth. You cannot manage time. You can only manage work, and that’s a BIG difference right there — to manage time, you’d have to be Doctor Who (and that’s difficult) but anyone can manage their work.
Every single professional I work with has time management issues, which means it’s an integral part of all my coaching programs, so don’t for a moment think you’re the worst on the planet and you can never get ahead. To help you get started, here are some killer tips to make your days simpler and your work a breeze.
What’s urgent is not always important
Learn to spot the difference. Urgent matters may or may not be important. But important things may not be urgent, and that means we tend to leave them to the side — until one day they become urgent and then voila! We have an extra problem to solve.
Learning to deal with important stuff first, even if it’s not urgent, means you don’t have to live in a constant state of emergency. You can get your adrenaline shots on an actual rollercoaster ride instead! Way more fun all around.
Plan with time attached
When I add anything to my diary, I attach an expected time on every task. Then I double it for good measure (know yourself!).
Knowing how long any task and commitment will take really helps plan our days more effectively. And demanding tasks can be followed by quick, lighter work that won’t result in total overwhelmingness.
Do one thing at a time
Multitasking doesn’t work, we know that now. Pick one thing and work on that, before moving onto the next thing. If the one thing is only a chunk of a bigger thing, that’s fine — big projects have to be broken down into steps.
Seeing progress being made every day is a huge incentive to stick to it and focus better.
Plan deep work
Setting aside big blocks of time for important work is crucial if we want to move away from the constantly urgent. Plan uninterrupted hours of work without distractions: Divert calls, get offline, mute texts. Even one hour spent on just one task is worth gold, and you will feel so productive you’ll wonder how you ever managed to work any other way.
Say no like a pro
Be aware that anything you say yes to means you’re saying no to something else, and that it may end up cutting into the time allotted to another task — or worse, into your own personal time. If your schedule is full, think twice before agreeing to yet another meeting or another project, no matter how small it is. Learning to say no, or deferring something to a later date, is crucial at this stage.
Tweak the Pareto principle
That’s the principle that says that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. And it goes on to say that you will spend the other 80% of your time to finish that 20%.
I made my own adjustment to the principle, and when I come to that 20% I seriously evaluate if it’s worth doing at all. Learn to delegate the least important parts of your projects, or scrap them altogether. Sometimes it’s only our perfectionism that keeps us mired in endless hours of work.
Kill the perfectionist in you
I’m not saying our work should ever be sub-par, but often we just can’t get away from one more tweak, one more layer in photoshop, one more detail that only we can see but strokes our ego like nothing else. Learn to let go when it’s good enough. Not everything has to be perfect. And not everything has to be done by you, either.
Learn to delegate
Yes, I know…it’s quicker to do it yourself than to train someone else to do it right. But in the long term, this means you will never grow your business beyond your human limitations (You have those, remember? You’re not Doctor Who).
The quicker you learn to give your work away, the faster you’ll grow, and the more fun you’ll have in the process. Freeing your time for creative stuff and leaving more basic jobs to others will change your life. Now, where’s that address for editing services…