Getting More Done with Less Effort

These days everyone’s professional and personal lives are full and busy. Extra activities, like holidays, retreats or special projects, can play havoc with the schedule. At the same time, these events can bring us pleasure and connection that may be lost on a day-to-day basis.

Instead of thinking of giving up or feeling overwhelmed, here are some time-savings tips to free up your schedule and bring more joy into your life.

1)     Do the most important things first. The night before write down the goal-achieving tasks that you want to accomplish the next day. Work on those items first thing in the morning and do all of them while you are fresh and focused. Anything that pops up while you are working on these tasks should be delayed until you finish the critical items. Doing this will give you additional energy that will make the other tasks feel easy and go quickly.

2)   Prioritize your work each day. Take control of your time and your tasks. If someone else assigns a new task or project, make certain that you know how it will fit with what you already have as priorities. Always make certain that your time is spent on the tasks that will give the highest return. Continually review the priority of what you are doing as things change.

3)   Delegate whenever possible. If there are tasks that need to be done, but you don’t have the time, look for ways to delegate tasks. Delegate tasks to others that can do them faster and easier than you can. Decide who is the best person to do each task and assign them accordingly.

4)   Less is more. Another tip that may seem counter-intuitive is to do less. The thinking behind this idea is to focus on the most important tasks. Concentrating on the order of importance and assigning the right person to do each task actually frees up time.

5)    Schedule tasks in your calendar and assign a time limit for each one. Frequently work tends to fill the allotted time. If you start a project without assigning a time limit, it will take far longer to accomplish. If you find that the project requires more time than you allotted, then you can set another specified time in the calendar.

6)   Batch similar tasks together. If you are going to make phone calls, make all of the calls one after another. If you have emails to do, complete all of them in a batch. If you have to leave the office for a meeting, complete any other outside tasks at the same time.The idea behind this is that grouping tasks saves time while focusing on similar matters increases your efficiency.

7)    Focus on completing a project before starting the next one or allowing interruptions. In recent years, people have been conditioned to multi-task believing that they are more effective; however, in actuality, they are achieving less and settling for mediocre results. By focusing on one project, giving it your complete attention and best work, it will be completed in less time.

8)   Eliminate or avoid things that drain your energy. For example, many meetings are a waste of time. Get or provide agendas prior to meetings. Make certain that your attendance will be beneficial. If you have nothing to contribute or won’t receive information that will aid you in your immediate projects, then bow out in favor of working on your highest priority. If something can be accomplished without a meeting, then don’t schedule one.

9)   Guard your time. Although it’s important to build relationships with co-workers and team members, avoid unproductive or long conversations that can zap your motivation and energy. Instead use identified break times to foster relationships. Avoid any gossip.

10)  Learn to say no. Although it may be uncomfortable, there are times when it’s best to say no. If you are seen as the person that gets things done, soon everyone will be knocking at your door. Rather than becoming the people pleaser, make sure that additional work fits with your skills and talents as well as your commitments. Tell people when you would realistically be able to complete their task and see if it fits with their expectations.