One of the reasons some of us feel unfilled is we just don’t have the time to do all the things we want to do in life. If you have a heavy workload and you are struggling to meet family and social commitments, you are not going to have much room for anything else. There are only so many hours in the day, so in order to achieve more, you are going to have to make better use of the time you have.
Successful entrepreneurs are the perfect example for anyone trying to get more done. They don’t have any superhuman qualities, yet they somehow manage to achieve far more than the average person. The secret to their increased productivity is usually superior time-management skills and a lifestyle that promotes a high level of mental functioning and physical health.
Are You Making The Best Use Of Your Time?
You may be convinced your current approach to time management is sufficient, but you may be shocked to find just how much time you are wasting. This isn’t just about packing as much stuff into you schedule as possible – you also need to carefully schedule tasks for the right time of the day (e.g. it is usually best to start off with the hardest jobs first when your energy and focus levels are going to be highest).
One of the other important skills for effective time-management is prioritizing and delegating. If you are self-employed, you can hire a virtual assistance cheaply from somewhere like the Philippines, and this can be an excellent way to outsource at least some of your work. You also need to consider if there are some tasks that you just shouldn’t be doing because they are a waste of your time.
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
A good idea is to prioritize your tasks for each day, because getting the important stuff done first means you are going to be less stressed and ultimately able to get more done. Time-management expert David Allen suggests that writing tasks down and prioritizing them actually improves your mental functioning. This is because if you don’t physically record a task, you are going to need to devote mental energy to remembering it. By writing these jobs down on paper (there are also productivity apps for this) and prioritizing them, you free up your mind so you put your attention where it needs to be.
Other steps you can take to make better use of your time would include:
• Experimenting with a productivity approach such as the pomodoro technique or the system devised by David Allen (check out his book ‘Getting Things Done’)
• Using a reward system to motivate you to complete difficult goals
• Adding an extra hour to your day by getting up a bit earlier
• Using to-do lists
• Trying to take a five-minute break every hour – if you are sitting at a computer, you need to get up and walk around
Add Some Morning Rituals
If you are already struggling to fit all the stuff you need to get done into your schedule, you may think that adding extra activities would be the last thing you want to do. If you take on more commitments, it could overwhelm you, but morning rituals are an exception because they can increase your ability to get things done during the rest of the day.
The purpose of morning rituals are to get your mind and body ready for what lies ahead. If you just drag yourself from bed to work, it is usually going to take at least a couple of hours to reach a high level of productivity. This period when you are mentally at the top of your game is when you are going to get the most done, but it might only last until the early afternoon. Morning rituals are not only going to get you into this high-productivity zone faster, but they can also keep you there for longer.
Just thirty minutes devoted to morning rituals each day can be enough to increase your ability to get stuff done. It is probably best to start off with a few easy rituals because this is going to increase the likelihood that you commit to them long-term. Some of the morning rituals you might want to experiment with initially could include:
• Yoga (there is a practice called the Five Tibetans that only take a few minutes to complete)
• Meditation – ten minutes a day can be enough to improve your focus and increase your ability to deal with stress
• Sitting in silence for a few minutes every morning
• Walking or cycling to work
• Positive visualizations – this can boost your motivation, and you can spend a few minutes on this each morning in bed before you get up
• 8-minute workouts can be enough to keep you in reasonable physical shape
• Enjoying a nutritious breakfast each morning – juice smoothies can give you an energy boost
It is best to choose a mix of morning rituals so you can prepare yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally for the day ahead. It’s also a good idea to change the activities now and again in order to prevent boredom – the main thing is that you do some rituals for a few minutes every morning.
Change The Way You Work
Sitting at a desk all day is not only incredibly unhealthy, but it can also reduce your productivity levels. An alternative to this way of working would be a standing desk. This is a special type of office furniture that allows you to use your computer while standing up.
You can also find standing desks that are adjustable so you can spend some of the day sitting and some of the day standing – there are even options that come with a built-in treadmill so you can stay fit as you work. It can take a couple of weeks to get used to this way of working, but it can increase your energy levels, boost creativity, help you lose weight, and improve your overall health.
An increasing number of companies are allowing employees to work from home. This is because it can actually lead to increased productivity – at the very least, you won’t have to waste time commuting to and from work every day. If you feel that you could get more done from home, why don’t you suggest this to your boss? It is important to understand that this way of working doesn’t suit everyone. You need to be highly self-motivated and capable of getting stuff done without having a boss breathing down your neck.
If you do work from home, you may find there are too many distractions in your environment. One way to get more done could be to hire some shared office space – there are now some venues in cities where you just rent space as you need it. Another alternative would be to just work in a coffee shop. One of the advantages of working from home is you have more freedom about when you work, but it is likely to increase your productivity levels if you stick to a regular schedule.