Productivity Hacks – Part 1
Time is our most precious resource in work or business. Time is limited and when we have lost it, we can’t get it back. If we don’t use time wisely and we waste it, we waste opportunity.
While there are a multitude of tips, tricks and ideas around to help you manage time, here is a simple 3-step strategy that will help you to evaluate how you currently spend your time. A strategy to help you work smarter not harder and have more time for more important things.
“It’s what you’re doing when you’re not doing what you are supposed to be doing that’s the problem.” Wyatt Woodsmall
The 1st step of the 3-step strategy is STOP. That means, stop doing the things that don’t add value to your business, your employees, your customers or yourself.
When thinking about the things to stop, think about the ‘inefficiencies’, the ‘unnecessaries’, and the ‘distractions’.
The ‘inefficiencies’ arise from things such as doing something again due to error, performing a lot of paper based tasks, or not using technology wisely. Inefficiencies also arise from having the wrong focus. Whether that’s focusing on too many things at once, or focusing too much time on less important tasks.
If you identify specific inefficiencies in your day to day, you can take steps to become more efficient. Whether that’s finding and fixing the root cause of common errors, implementing effective technology solutions, or focusing your energy on important activities one task at a time.
The ‘unnecessary’ tasks involve activities such as attending ineffective meetings, or producing more than what your customer requires.
If a meeting is necessary, be clear on objectives, communications and next steps to prevent follow up meetings. In terms of customer requirement, make sure you understand your customers’ needs by asking them what they want and providing only what they ask for.
While email and social media can serve a purpose, they are also some of the most common ‘distractions’ that can steer you away from achieving your outcomes. A five minute check of your email or social media accounts invariably turns into 15, 30 or more minutes!
Deal with these distractions by turning off the pop ups and notifications, and cancel email subscriptions. Allocate certain times of the day to check email and social media sites, and during that time, as Stephen Covey says, “Organise and execute around priorities.”
Look out for ‘Productivity Hacks – Part 2’ next month for the remaining steps of the 3-step strategy to evaluate your time.
In the meantime, stop and think. How much of your time is spent on things in your work or business that could be stopped, or at least reduced?