Are you finding that you don’t have enough time in the day to get your work done? Here are some ideas to help you ‘create time’ in the midst of the busyness.
Change Your Work Hours & Save 6 Weeks!
Imagine! Having an extra 6 weeks in the year to get work done or spend with the family! Are you working from 9am-5pm? That means you are probably traveling to work in peak hour traffic. In many cities, the average commute can take up to an hour each way. If you change your work hours from 9am-5pm to 8am-4pm, or 10am-6pm, you could miss the peak hour traffic and save 30 minutes each way. This amounts to one hour a day, 5 hours a week, or 250 hours a year! And that’s about a 6 week time saving!
Commuting – Time Consuming and Boring? Or Productive Time?
Are you one of the many commuters stuck in traffic each day? Many employees spend 30-90 minutes commuting to work, each way in cars, buses and trains. Do you get road rage? Stressed with the bustle? What a way to start the day – stressed! What if you could use this time to your advantage? If traveling by car, start thinking about what you have on that day, or use a Dictaphone to write a letter. Plan your first half of the day in your mind whilst driving. If traveling by bus, read a proposal or a work brief. If traveling by train, use your laptop to clear some emails.
Look for new ways to turn the time consuming chore of commuting into an invigorating ‘Head Start’ on your day. This will help you save time, and start work in a more focused manner.
Crazy Email Confusion? Or Disciplined Email Habits!
”Answer emails as they arrive, or a few times daily?” Most people answer emails as they arrive. This creates a distraction and can take 5-10 minutes after each email to get focused on work again. Based on an average of 10 emails a day and 5 minutes refocusing time, that’s about 4 hours a week being wasted. 20 emails a day can rob you of 8 hours a week etc.
To save time, only check your emails at set times (i.e. 9am, 11am, 1pm, 4pm), and answer as many emails as you can in 15 minutes. Having set ‘Email Checking’ times will help you stay focused and achieve more.
“Become a ‘Conversation Finisher’, as quick responses are good responses.” When people email you with a question, answer it! Don’t go off topic or get drawn into long-winded discussions. By answering right the first time, you will save time from ongoing related emails. Most email users use the ‘Forward’ and ‘Reply’ button far too much, resulting in confusing conversations, and not getting resolution on issues! Let the buck stop with you and save time!
Spend Time Planning & you’ll Create Time!
Spend 15 minutes at the start of each day planning your priorities for the day. This will ensure you make time to get the ‘Big Stuff’ done. It’s easy to fit the small stuff around the big stuff, but not as easy to fit the big stuff around the small stuff. As a famous quote said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”
Obey the ‘5 Minute Phone Call’ Rule & Save Hours!
When answering calls, be decisive and to the point. A good method to save time on calls is to have a timer on the desk and start it when you answer the phone. Spend the first minute getting all the info from the caller. Spend the next 2-4 minutes providing answers, info or helping the caller. When you get close to or over the 5 minute mark, start winding up the conversation. Make sure you always end the conversation, not others and you should control your time, not others.
How Long Does it Take to Eat a Sandwich?
Employees are given 30 to 60 minutes for lunch. There is nothing wrong with having a break, but if you’re under pressure for a few days, or need to stay focused on a project, make a sandwich the night before. Be a nerd and bring lunch to work! It takes about 5-10 minutes to eat a sandwich (and homemade always tastes better) but the real saving is time. By eating a homemade sandwich, you’ll save up to 50 minutes a day, or 4 hours a week!
And if we’re really honest, that time would only be spent waiting in queues at cafés or on gossip in the staff kitchen. Make a sandwich and shave 4 hours of stress off your week!
Dr. Delia and Dr. Daniel