There never seem to be enough hours in a day, I have been fascinated by this constraint of time by how much the “A players” are able to make out of the same time majority struggle with and sort to dig and find ways to improve efficiency and obtain high productivity while at it. In this journey of life, I have learnt that everything is within reach, you just have to bend and reach it, in our article this week, I reached out to find ways I can adapt to step up productivity and efficiency within the same hours of the day, getting a lot more done within the same period of time whether in the gym, at home with family, at a side hustle or even while sharpening a skill, without getting a burnout.
“Being productive may drain the fun out of life” this is far from the truth and generates from ignorance and fear of either change, standing out or the unknown.
When you achieve a higher productivity level, you free up more time to your hand from which you can choose to have more fun or get more done, the choice is yours.
Our balance of work and play may differ but by being efficient we are able to decide and plan how to spend our time.
When one doesn’t perceive to maximize their time efficiently they end up being slaves to time itself, My philosophy on time is that since time is limited, squeeze out the most you can from it, focusing on one item at a time, be fully productive or fully enjoying, whichever one of those you choose, just be fully present in the moment, without trying to “pull” the stunt of getting both done at the same time by staying in the middle, trying to relax and work.
Time can be the most valuable asset you can have if you treat it as such, begin to acknowledge the value of your time and work towards improving the value you get out of it. To help us do this, let’s crack open the potential of our minds and have them not only rely on will power but carefully crafted skills around our day to help us go over those huddles that always keep us from getting those goals achieved, begin by;
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and able to shoot lasers out of his eyes – Ben Franklin
Wake up early so you plan your day in advance before the hustles and bustles of the day over run your mind, I personally advocate for early rise, every productive day starts as early as possible, get ahead while most are still sleeping. Understand your patterns and make the most of it, Figure out what yours is and live by that.
While you are at it, don’t wake up and begin catching up your phone, chances are you will contaminate and ruin your “ready to program mind” for the day.
Exercises go a long way in restoring blood circulation to every part of your body, not only does it wake up your body but wakes the mind as well ensuring it gets sufficient supply of oxygen, therefore boosting your ability to focus. When you are not fully awake or not fit, your body tends to work against you and that can be energy draining
Before you get into that exhausting routine daily tasks, purpose to watch, read or learn around the activities of your day. This will jump start your mind to quick understanding and awareness of the day’s events. Purpose to catch movies aligning to something you are reading or currently doing so you kill several birds of relaxation, entertainment, learning, time off, holiday with a single stone
Give some focus to that project you are pursuing independent of your daily routine work, whether it’s a book you are reading, a skill you are working on to improve or a talent you have been denying attention, something to add value to you as a person; if you don’t, you probably need to get yourself one.
Write it down; To do lists are mandatory for improving productivity, they get you organized and allow you to see where your focus should go every day, they as well give you a sense of accomplishment whenever you strike an item off the list. Create a to do list for each upcoming day in order to have a clear image of what needs to be done, this way you wouldn’t spend time in the morning trying to figure what tasks need to be done first. Hit the ground running with an action plan that focuses on the most important, trim down your list to a realistic portion by first allocating a number at the front of every item in order of priority based on importance. Avoid having a very long list, it could leave you pressured in the morning by the massive size of items in the list or frustrated in the evening if you only get a few things checked off.
Break down the bigger tasks into smaller achievable tasks, Identify those that you can carry out as small tasks and those that you can achieve as quick wins of the lighter tasks.
Plan and schedule for the important tasks those that require intense brain work for the morning and the shallow lighter ones for later probably the afternoon.
Identify tasks you can perform anywhere; Picture how much time you spend standing in queues, traffic, commuting in an uber, flying to that city, waiting to board a flight or waiting to connect, that time when you are neither doing anything fun nor productive. You will be surprised at how much time you wasted each and every day which can be put into some good use. Begin taking this into account, don’t be surprised to discover you spend a good number of hours to and from work every day which can be put into use. Upon discovery of this time, plan to listen to audio books or podcasts when driving to allow you consume valuable information when you would otherwise not be doing anything. It also means you have more time to do the things that are important to you.
Time boxing or time blocking; This is creating time blocks of 60 to 90 minutes and scheduling tasks around these blocks. A specific block of scheduled time specifically for a single planned task, it’s a famous methodology applied by the successful people Bill gates, Andy Hunt, and Elon Musk to name but a few. Knowing you have a fixed amount of time on any given task is a reminder that you need to make the most out of the limited time you have.
There are two types of time boxes: „hard time boxes“ and „soft time boxes“. The terms hard and soft refer to how you handle the end of a time box:
Avoid Multitasking; Multitasking gives a perception that you are achieving more within the minute and requires a must have skill to multitasking. Multitasking is the ability of your brain to switch from one task to another and focuses on working on several activities all at once, meaning, rays of focus are shifted between a number of items at a time. In as much as there are people who can achieve this without much strain, it kills productivity, causing a decrease of up to 30% of your productivity as well as lowers your IQ, focus on one task at a time giving it 100% of your attention.
Work to minimize distractions; To focus on a single task at a time, distractions have to be minimized, you don’t need to answer all of your emails or phone calls right away unless of course it’s your main job, turn off your notifications from Facebook and other social medial platforms, avoid checking on it every half hour and operate your phone from the “Do not disturb” mode while working, set this for 1 hour every time so interference retracts you back as an alert to switch tasks. You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve when you fully focus.
Keep that working space organized; You get it smooth when everything is in place and your work space is organized, it as well eliminates the urge to organize your desk or shorten the time you look for something you need.
Embrace technology; Don’t be afraid to use every app necessary to take your productivity higher and to the next level, track the amount of time spent on each activity, appointment, schedules, reminders, organizers, calendars.
Delegate both up and down; Smart people think it all depends on them and no one else can do the work, they end up controlling what they are doing and everything around them; Wise people know they cannot do it all by themselves and have to maximize on the skills around them without putting a mental limit on positions. Delegation is a word that most control freaks don’t understand, it basically means entrusting a responsibility to another person often practiced down the work structures, however, delegation not only need occur down but up as well.
Good team players find no problem with this at all and see the value it adds to the whole team effort. Delegation eliminates bottle necks to ongoing projects by understanding resources available to us and at our disposal and allocating tasks appropriately.
Identify that which you are good at as well as that which your team members have and leverage those tasks you can have assistance of someone else and distribute the work. While delegating you want to ensure you delegate the right task to the right person to get the most out of your delegation decision without causing more bottlenecks.
Just because you are best at it, doesn’t mean you need to do it.
Choose your friends wisely; Surround yourself with smart people who have the same mindset and ambitions as you do and try working besides and alongside them, that way you can motivate each other through discussions while at it, they will enrich your knowledge.
Adopt the 90/90/1 rule to scale up your productivity, impact and create the performance of an A plus performer. In the next 90 days, every first 90 minutes should be allocated to that single most important task
Understand Parkinson law which states; Work expands to fill the slot allocated to it. This means if you give yourself 10 hours to do a job you can complete in 1 hour, it will take you the full 10 hours to complete it, but if you give yourself 2 hours, you become much more efficient, even when you go over your target of two hours, you’ll still spend far less time compared to the 10hours initially allocated. The aim is to not allocate too much time for a task you can spend less time on. It will take some experimentation to get your prevision right with this one.
Take note, planned sleep is time used wisely to open up some time ahead for good use with less fatigue as opposed to answering to the demands of sleep for the mind to reset.
While at it, watch out for the “cancer” of procrastination, it nibbles on your plans, tires your will power and paralyzes your ability to action and execute, turning you into a spectator in a match you should be participating.
More that we can add on this list include;
- Taking breaks in between to avoid fatigue and burnouts.
- Be proactive not reactive
- Set self-imposed deadlines
- Give up the illusion of perfection, nothing is ever perfect
- With a clear goal and action plan in mind, your productivity level can rise to new heights.
Remember your sleep, food, exercise, sex and water intake play a big role in ensuring your energy levels are maintained to enhance your ability to get those tasks done and you have to be looked into.
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Mind Grid Perspectives