Feel like you need more than 24 hours in a day? No matter how much you do, things just never end and the work keeps piling up. Let’s face it, we can’t complete everything that we set out to do in a day. Yet why are some people able to accomplish more than others even though the number of hours we have in a day is the same? Well, it’s all about managing your time well and working smarter! Instead of putting in more hours to complete what we set out to do, we should aim to put in less hours to complete our tasks. Working hard can get you from Point A to Point B, but working smarter can get you to places. Find out how to manage your time well and maximise your 24 hours in a day!
Begin With MITs
What are MITs? They are also known as Most Important Tasks for short. Don’t sit around and wait for motivation to hit before you work on your most important tasks. Start off the day with your MITs while you are still fresh and energetic! We tend to procrastinate when we dislike the task or find it too daunting. But rather than waiting until it’s really urgent before completing it, work on the task first so that you won’t have to worry about it later. The hardest part is taking the first step. Once you get the ball rolling, the task will seem less daunting.
Focus On High Impact Tasks
Don’t get bogged down by small and low-impact tasks. Channel your energy to tasks that have a direct correlation to your organisation and KPI. When in doubt, follow the 80-20 rule of the Pareto Principle. 80% of the results should come from 20% of the actions or efforts you put in. Try to eliminate tasks that are high in effort and low in results. You might feel strange to cut off these tasks that keep you busy throughout the day. But remember, LESS IS MORE!
Delegate And Automate
All you micromanagers out there! Do you find yourself having to work overtime because you are too busy making every single little decision for your team? Rather than breathing down their necks and being involved in every little thing that your team members are doing, trust them and let go. The more tasks and decisions you delegate, the more time you have for high impact work. Find ways to automate those seemingly little yet time-consuming tasks. If you have to deal with lots of reports and excel sheets, learn Excel Macro or VBA! It might take you a while to get the hang of it. But trust me, you’re going to wish that you knew these excel tricks sooner!
Do Similar Tasks Together
Think of your brain as a car engine. It’s much harder to pick up speed if you have to keep stopping. Different tasks require different functions of the brain. Switching in and out of a task requires time and energy to reorient yourself and pick up from where you left. So focus on completing one task before moving on to the next one! Block out time to complete your work, and if possible, schedule back to back meetings. You get to end your meetings on time and have uninterrupted time to focus on your work.
Block Out Distractions
Your workspace is a reflection of your mind, so keep it neat and tidy! Studies have shown that a cluttered desk increases stress levels. Work is already stressful on its own, don’t give yourself additional and unnecessary stress! If your phone keeps vibrating from all the social media notifications, download apps to help you stay focused or put your phone away. Out of sight, out of mind!
Many of us mistake being busy and working harder as a way to achieve our goals and KPI. But we often get caught up in meaningless tasks that have no value add. Take a step back, slow down and start being conscious of the tasks you have. It’s time to start working smarter!