- 1 The lack of time
- 2 1. Focus on one activity at a time and avoid multitasking
- 3 2. Planning every activity saves time.
- 4 3. Set goals.
- 5 4. Can you say no?
- 6 5. Learn to delegate
- 7 6. Take frequent breaks.
- 8 7. Focus on what you have the power to change.
- 9 8. Eliminate distractions with the “technological break”.
- 10 9. Devote blocks of time to similar tasks
The lack of time
The famous poet Edward Young once said that “procrastination is the thief of time” … but can you have more time?
We, in fact, often use the excuse of “lack of time” with the aim of stalling or even not doing what we should.
I have listed below 9 tips to find more time:
1. Focus on one activity at a time and avoid multitasking
As already explained here, multitasking, as indicated by the American Psychological Association, increases the time required to carry out an activity of around 40%.
2. Planning every activity saves time.
I noticed that when I don’t insert an activity in my calendar, leaving it to chance and improvisation, very often not only I don’t complete this activity, but I am overwhelmed by a thousand distractions that simply make me waste time.
Author Annie Dillard has stated that “a program defends from chaos and whims.”
In detail, the assertion implies that the planned activities save a lot of time, especially when knowing yourself.
For example, if we are morning people, priority activities should be performed in the morning. During the end of the day, the moment in which the energies are minor, it is advisable to perform less essential and less engaging works. An integral aspect of activity planning is the belief that time for important things has not been found but created.
So, in my case, if I decide to do a workout as soon as I wake up, I have to put it on the calendar and then prepare the shoes and the mat the night before to avoid wasting time in the morning (and avoid the temptation to go back to bed).
3. Set goals.
Establishing professional and realistic goals, both personal and professional, marks the first step towards effective time management.
Objectives define the vision, concentration and destination of an individual. They allow us to clearly identify the priority of our activities.
Are the activities we have on the calendar really contributing to our vision?
Are they worthy of our attention? Or is it necessary to delegate them or simply learn to say no?
4. Can you say no?
Family or social constraints sometimes make us accept commitments and activities that we would not like.
We can’t say no because we are blocked by guilt or we think that saying no is a form of selfishness.
William Ury in “The No Positive” explains well how to be able to say “no”, thus satisfying one’s individuality and needs, without destroying our relationship with others.
5. Learn to delegate
Learning to delegate does not mean admitting a lack, but knowing how to entrust yourself to other people, so that we can take care of the activities that we consider most important.
6. Take frequent breaks.
Continuous work is tiring and negatively affects time management.
Frequent breaks are essential in time management as they allow working people to refresh their minds and gain extra energy to focus on their work again.
7. Focus on what you have the power to change.
Stephen Covey distinguishes “Circle of Concern” from “Circle of Influence”.
The circle of concern includes all the things we care about; personal and global concerns.
The circle of influence includes the things we have the power to change.
Example of things you can’t control or change:
● What others think of you
● The weather
● Things you’ve done wrong in the past
● Hypothetical situations: “what would happen if …”
Things you CAN check or change:
● The people around you
● How to react
● Your mood
● Your perspective
● How to spend your free time
● What to say
● How to behave
A simple question can help us understand if we are managing our time in the best possible way:
● Can I change the situation?
If yes: what can you do?
If the answer is no: stop worrying and focus your attention, your time and your energy only on what you can really control.
You will realize that most of the time you are wasting your energy on something you cannot change.
8. Eliminate distractions with the “technological break”.
As demonstrated by Larry Rosen, (professor emeritus of psychology at California State University), the best way to stay focused is to silence the phone, turning it face down to avoid viewing visual notifications, turn off email alerts and close distracting websites.
(To learn more: “Do you want to be more productive? Avoid multitasking”)
9. Devote blocks of time to similar tasks
Devote blocks of time to similar tasks in order to decrease distraction and increase productivity. If during the week, for example, we have to make calls of the same type (for a sale, recall, appointments), it is advisable to program these activities in the same time frame.
In summary: a small step at a time to have more time
As always, big changes start with small steps, and any suggestions above can be a simple tiny shift.
It is enough to implement one at a time in our daily routine to feel the benefits soon.