Lately, I’ve caught myself saying things like “if only I had more time”, “if only there were more hours in each day”. Amongst your busy schedule, perhaps you’ve been saying it too. The truth is though, even if I did manage to find a few extra hours each day, I’m not sure I would use that time as productively as I could.
I recently read that we have an average of 30,000 days on this planet – an incredibly and alarmingly small amount of time if you ask me. But as scary as I found that thought, it resonated with me.
If this is all the time I have, instead of wishing for more time, perhaps I should be asking: “How could I be more productive with the time I have?” So I have been. Every single day.
Knowing I’m not the only one who struggles with being as productive as possible, here are seven tips for squeezing more time out of every day:
1. Get up an hour earlier
As hard as it can be some days to pull yourself out of bed an hour earlier, this is a really simple way to add more time to your day. It’s an extra hour to complete your to-do list for the day, work on some additional tasks or achieve a better work/life balance.
2. Get ideas out of your head
Keep a notepad close by to write down ideas, thoughts and things to-do.
If you keep a thought floating around in your mind, it can distract you and affect your productivity. Instead, by writing it down, you get it out of your head. You can come back to it later when you have more time.
3. Handle things once
You can cut down a lot of wasted time simply by handling tasks once. When an email, voicemail or piece of paperwork comes in, deal with it straight away instead of coming back to it later.
4. Make good use of waiting time
If you have an appointment or business meeting and you suspect you might be early or the person you’re meeting might be late, take some work along with you. Use the time to manage your social media, respond to emails or complete other pressing tasks you can easily do on the go.
5. Use your Sunday evening to plan the week ahead
Setting aside just 10 to 20 minutes each a Sunday evening to plan out the week ahead can really give you a head start. List all of your to-dos, then book in meetings and phone calls. If you have time, clear your inbox and schedule email responses to save yourself some time Monday on morning.
6. Know what you want to achieve out of the day
Once you have a plan for your week, drill down further to work out what you want to achieve out of each day. This will help you to prioritise your tasks and stay focused on what is most important. It can also help you to identify the time-zapping tasks and distractions that are impacting your productivity, giving you a chance to outsource, streamline or limit them.
7. Make a note of where you’re up to
When you take a break or finish work for the day, take a couple of minutes to write down where you’re up to on each project you’ve been working on and what is left to do. This will help you quickly pick up where you left off when you start work again.
How do you squeeze more out of every day?