Time management and productivity are skills that we all must become adept at. Life has become more complex, with more and more tools and demands. Combine that with the fact that we all have limited amounts of time, making for a recipe for disaster. The idea is to get better at this and to be able to maximize what we can do with the time we have available for work. Here are some tips.
Save Time Wherever You Can
Each second counts. Find shortcuts or workarounds to make things work better, faster. Something as little as realizing that you can swipe right to reply to a message on WhatsApp can save you seconds. I discovered this as I watched a teen digitally chatting with a velocity that I had never been able to accomplish. I realized the secret was swiping rather than selecting the message and clicking on the reply, which took me much longer, especially when doing this multiple times a day.
You might think this is a second or two of my time, and you are right, but that is not the entire story. Yesterday, I chatted with 25 different people. I exchanged only a couple of messages with some while I chatted with others quite a bit. Having the ability to quickly respond saved me tremendous time. To be conservative, let’s say that overall, the swiping saved me 30 seconds, but if we extrapolate that to 5 days a week for 50 weeks, it adds up to 2.08 hours in a year.
And that’s just one shortcut. You can try this idea in many different ways. Your browser is a good place to start: try implementing shortcuts on your preferred browser. If you have websites that you constantly use, add bookmarks that will take you to your destination much more quickly. Those extra seconds will add up over time. You can also create templates so that you don’t have to repeat the same thing over and over again. Another way to save time is to find ways to keep everything you physically need close by so you don’t have to go on unnecessary searches.
I recommend you constantly assess how productive your setup is and what you can do to improve it.
We always underestimate how long anyone given thing will take. Set up your schedule in blocks of time and give yourself ample time to work on the project at hand. If you think something will take a certain amount of time, bake in extra time. Projects usually take much more than the amount of time we originally think we need.
Why is this? Well, life is unpredictable. If we could budget every single second of every day and project everything that will happen, then we might have a decent shot at better planning our time. And even then, we tend to underestimate how much something will take. We often come up against obstacles that we could never have seen initially. Each project is variable. Life constantly changes, and you will come up against roadblocks that nobody else might have seen.
Be Consistent and Build Routines
The biggest time-waster I see is jumping from one thing to the next without a clear plan. Today, for example, I came back from a week that included two very impactful trips/conferences. I spent the whole morning trying to work through what I had pending from the trips, moving from one to-do to the next. I have not been efficient, and that is okay sometimes. But if you want to maximize your time, build routines. Have a plan for what you want to do and stick with it, week after week.
You will see that your actions become automatic, and you with time you will achieve more and more. Each incremental action will take you closer to your goals. Discipline is everything.