“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” -Steve Jobs
Continual Connection – Information Overload
Time management strategies were developed at a time when people had few communication channels and received their information and documentation by post. The underlying assumption was that once people knew how to manage their time more effectively, their performance and productivity would improve.
To-Do or not To-Do: That is the Question
Now, we are subjected to a barrage of constant calls, texts, emails and social media notifications. Many of these requests and demands drain your time and energy. Most of us have a rapidly growing to-do list, which typically gets added to, rather than addressed. These factors contribute to a massively distorted sense of time.
Using technology, I work with clients to increase their productivity. I help them examine how they really spend their time. At the end, they frequently find that their perception of how much time they invest in their most important tasks increases more to the amount of time they actually invested.
Upgraded Time and Life Management
While time management still has a part to play in contributing to better performance, it should only ever be a single component that productivity and quality of life be a holistic strategy.
The following 5 steps will help you get more out of your days and weeks:
- Increase your focus and attention. When you increase your focus, you’ll get far more done in the same amount of time. Research indicates that every time a person’s focus on a task is distracted, it takes approximately 25 minutes to get back to the same point they were at before the interruption.
In addition to employing daily practices to increase and maintain your focus, consider taking advantage of focus enhancing technologies.
- Increase and preserve your energy. It’s obvious but it’s often overlooked. The higher are your energy levels, the more you will accomplish in a shorter space of time. When you have more energy, you’re more likely to tackle the most important tasks that you keep putting off. The contribution that sleep, nutrition and exercise contribute to increasing performance and productivity cannot be overstated.
- Accept you will not complete your to-do list. While to-do lists serve the function of helping you keep track of the things you need to do, they should not dictate how you structure your day and spend your time.
Prioritize those tasks that will help you make the biggest forward leaps. Do the 20% that will give you the 80% return. Allow yourself to be alright with the fact that you will never complete your to-do list. After a while you will find that many of your to-do’s were not that important in the first place.
- Say No. Productivity warriors are masters of saying “No!” to the many time and energy vampires that are ever present. The demands of others can usually wait and often be dealt by someone else. Time is the most precious resource we have and we must guard it fiercely.
- Use Technology. There are hundreds, if not thousands of productivity apps. Not all apps are good; there only a few that are truly awesome. Apps can be incredibly useful in freeing up your brain so that it can focus on getting the important things done. The important things include apps to plan, track, remind you, increase your focus and store your thoughts. Always remember that these apps exist to support, not replace, your organization.
Image credit: CC by Chris Florence