Would you like to get more done while working fewer hours? Commit to trying these 7 suggestions for at least 30 days and then evaluate your results.
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
1. Set the Tone for Your Day
Set the tone for your day by starting with a sense of calm and restfulness rather than a sense of being rushed. Take time in the mornings for yourself – time to enjoy your cup of tea or coffee and breakfast while spending a short time reading. Or take time for a walk and enjoy nature (with or without a dog!) before breakfast. Take advantage of the early morning and quiet time to spend 15-20 minutes in meditation. It is amazing what just that short time spent meditating can do to improve your day. A few of the positive effects include boosting your mood, enhancing your awareness, increasing your confidence, and reducing stress. You’ll find that you will be energized to approach your day with greater productivity.
2. Become Intentional with Your Calendar
Become “intentional” with your calendar. We only have 24 hours each day, no matter how you may try to stretch it. So why let other people’s priorities dictate your calendar? Be more intentional in how those hours are used. Spend a short time calendaring your days with blocks of time and specific goals in mind. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a day having completed everything on your calendar. And possibly with time left over to get more done!
3. The 80/20 Principle
Pareto’s 80/20 Principle – Most of us have heard of the 80/20 rule. 20% of your actions are responsible for 80% of your results. What if you cut out 80% of the time you are currently spending and identify and focus on the “20% tasks” that produce the best financial results for your business? Start today by identifying what you will stop doing (part of that 80%) and be firm about this. This action might involve eliminating some of the unnecessary items you are doing. This includes checking emails or texts throughout the day rather than in one or two sessions per day. You could even hire someone to do some of the 80%.
Disconnect! This is probably one of the most challenging suggestions but the results are worth it. Put your phone on silent or Do Not Disturb. Better yet, put it in a different room altogether! This is also where having an assistant can help as they can screen calls, texts, and emails and only notify you if it’s an emergency they can’t handle. Having a separate phone number for business is also a way to separate work. Rhen when you have your business phone on silent, family can still reach you if there is an emergency.
Set boundaries for your clients, vendors and team as well as for yourself. Let them know that you check your messages twice a day and will respond within a time frame you set. This arrangement allows you to take control and stay focused so you can get more done. It also means that when you do respond you can pay more attention and reply more purposefully than just reacting when those notifications pop up.
5. Take Control of Managing Your Time
Take control of managing your time. How often are you frustrated that you never complete your to-do list? Maybe you are like so many others and you have too many things on that list. Identify your top 3 priorities each day and get those 3 key items done. Then you will be able to use the remainder of the day on additional projects. Think about incorporating a bit of that time daily for fun and relaxation – even if it’s just a walk around the block. You may be surprised to find it stimulates your creative brain. You may come up with that design solution or answer to some challenge with which you have been wrestling. Do you allow yourself “thinking” time each day? If not, incorporate that into your daily calendar.
6. Life Beyond Work
Life beyond work. Include non-work-related goals and activities as part of your life. Set a personal goal that is not related to the business. This could be taking watercolor classes, running a marathon, or challenging yourself to learn any other new skill. Incorporate activities that are also not related to work. Starting a wine club, joining a book club, or taking a hike with friends once a week. With all of the business-related reading we do, take time to transport yourself away from work and enjoy non-work-related books. It’s great for brain relaxation! You will find that those commitments will fill part of your calendar, thereby keeping work from consuming you 24/7. You may be surprised at how much more creative, productive and energized you will become during your work hours because of the time off you gave your brain by engaging in other activities.
7. Aim for Excellence, Not Perfection
Aim for excellence – not perfection. Perfection is highly overrated, can often be a time waster, will be frustrating to yourself as well as others and can block you from excellence. Aim for excellence rather than focusing on the paralysis of perfectionism. A quote from an article I came across is a great reminder to post by your desk: “Perfection fears failure. Excellence embraces opportunities for growth.”
Finally, remember the advice of Peter Drucker: “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”