Making the most of your day is all about creating a plan and sticking to it, so as not to fall into the time wasting trap of being busy, but not productive. This is the principle message of efficiency experts Peter Bregman, Cyril Peupion and Glenn Dobson.
“People confuse performance with busyness,” Peupion says. “Thinking the more emails I respond to, the more I’m doing. But this isn’t the case.”
While there are a number of internet plugins and apps which can be downloaded to limit time on social media, and remove distractions such as the Facebook newsfeed, [such as StayFocused, and News Feed Eradicator] it is effective to adopt more high-level strategic approach to minimise distractions and optimise output.
Here’s what they suggest:
1. Think quarterly, plan weekly, act daily
Efficiency expert Cyril Peupion, says taking the time to plan short and long-term goals, actually enables you to create more time, then schedule these activities in your calendar rather than tracking them through a daily to-do list.
“Plan your week; think about the things that should make it into your diary,” Peupion says. “It’s not about how busy you are and how much work you have, it’s how you manage your time.”
2. Focus on the big things
Corporate coach and productivity whizz Glenn Dobson recommends focusing on those four or five major things in which you would most like to invest your time, and let go of the rest.
“At the end of the day, we’ve all got the same amount of time,” Dobson says. “Don’t get bogged down in things you don’t need to be doing.”
It’s not about how busy you are and how much work you have, it’s how you manage your time.
3. Control your email
Control your email lest it control you Peupion says. Set aside three time slots each day to check your email, actioning each one as you go so they don’t pile up. Never attempt to divide your attention between email and other activities such as projects or meetings, you will be more effective if you’re focussed on one thing at a time.
In his book Four Seconds Peter Bregman points out that it’s impossible to completely remove distractions from your day. He believes the key to staying focussed lies in the ability to recognise you’re distracted, pause and take a breath, a process which takes four seconds and enables you to return your attention to the task at hand.
Setting aside time for yourself plays a crucial role in your overall productivity. In a world that overloads us with information and communication, we often overlook the importance of quiet contemplation, Bregman says.
“If you’re still looking for a business case to justify spending time meditating, try this one: meditation makes you more productive,” he says.
Idea in brief
Four simple ways to make more time in your working week:
- Have an agenda for every phone call
- Shorten meetings or propose a standing check in meeting where appropriate
- Make a plan, schedule it and stick to it
- Dedicate specific time for reading and responding to emails