19 Sep 5 Ways for Effective Time Management and Productivity
Each week we have 168 hours to use. No one gets more – we all get the same. So I ask you to look at your 168 hours. Are you using them wisely? Are you spending your time with the right people and in areas that will enrich your life and impact others? Are you taking time to reflect and re-energize yourself?
These are important questions Clara Capano, business consultant and author of Find Your Focus: 52 Weeks of Clara-ty often poses. “Most of my clients struggle with how to use their time productively and properly and always asking for more of it,” says Capano. “We need to think of time as a resource— once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t get it back. Ever.”
I asked Clara how we can use our 168 hours most effectively and be more productive. She outlined these five ways to manage time and productivity.
Create a game plan for your week.
Set aside 30 minutes to an hour to set your week up. Look at the targets you need to hit, the projects you need to work on, and any other commitments you may have, and place them into your schedule.
The secret here is to also carve out and set time for your “real” life. Many of us are good at setting time for professional targets but we don’t make any time to live. When you take time to plan your week, you can see where your time is going to go before hand, making you more purposeful and productive.
We all have them and they are not going away. We have to learn to not ignore them, but rather manage them better. First start by being aware of what distracts you; is it other people, social media, email, etc? Once you identify your major distractions you can work to put disciplines in place.
Try a strategy for blocking time for focused attention called “bubble time.” The idea is that you block out an hour to focus on an activity, then for the first 45 minutes you turn off all distractions… all of them! No phone, no email, no people, period. You work with focus for 45 minutes. Then you take the last 15 minutes to take a break, check emails and messages and address items that need attention now. By having 45 minutes of focused time without distractions you can get a lot done. Plus you can use this strategy for anything – making calls, organizing your office, working on projects.
Be honest about your time.
This tip works in conjunction with the weekly plan. You must be honest about the time you have each week. If you have a big project, an out of town guest, or are traveling, make sure to set your week up with these items in mind.
“One client I had was mad at herself for not getting all of her targets completed,” says Capano. “ After talking it was clear that she didn’t have her normal week with 40 hours, but rather only had about 25 hours to dedicate to work.” So why would she set her week up with the same targets as a 40-hour week? We do it all the time. As you plan your week, be honest. Know how much time you have to give and set yourself up accordingly.
Who knew that such a little word could be such a big challenge? We struggle with saying “No.” Saying “Yes” is easy; there is no conflict or confrontation – the other person gets exactly what they want. The reality is we are saying no all the time, it is just to ourselves and our goals.
We place others needs ahead of ours and then wonder why we cannot reach our goals. Try this trick: the next time someone asks you to do something for them, stop and take a moment to ask yourself, “If I agree to do this, what will I have to say no to?” This will help you to determine if it makes good business sense. An honest “No” is better than a dishonest “yes.” Make sure you are holding true to what you need and not giving your time away to others at your expense.
Take time off – we all need time away.
Taking time off helps you to re-energize, replenish, and create. Think about it this way – what do people need from you? They need you to be at your best, they need you to be focused and on your game. You cannot do this if you are burned out and not feeling well.
Your clients and team need you to take time off. We feel guilty for getting away and taking time off, we tell ourselves it is “selfish.” In fact, it is selfish to not take time off. In order to serve at your highest level you need to be rested. When was the last time you took a day off?
You see, there really is enough time for it all. We just have to make the decision and the right choices to make it so. It is not easy and takes some thought and discipline. You can find more time in your day!