In my most recent Reader Survey, I asked the question: “What is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?” I then gave some options for answers – things like Not Enough Inspiration, Not Enough Skills, and Not Enough Money. By far, Not Enough Time was the one that got the most responses. It’s not totally surprising as we all want to do more and get more done.
At the end of the day, however, there are still only 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, and 8,760 hours in a year. So, rather than focusing on adding more time to our days, we should seek to find ways to make better use of the seconds, minutes, and hours that we have. So, here they are – 7 Ways to Stop Wasting Time and Get More Done:
1. Say no – This is probably the easiest way to add more time back into your day. Saying no to things that aren’t important and things that pull you away from the most valuable parts of your life is key to getting more done. This means we have to be able to first identify what we should be saying no to and then be able to be bold and courageous enough to tell others no. If you take this step, I guarantee that you’ll be able to add valuable time back into your calendar.
2. Ask for help – I’m very guilty of having the mentality that it can be easier and quicker to just do it myself. However, what ends up happening is that I spend time on things that others could be doing and on things that don’t add value to my day. In leadership, parenting, and life, people are our greatest asset. Delegate and Collaborate.
3. Turn off distractions – For me, Social Media can be a distraction. And TV. And food. Ok, there are lots of distractions in my world that end up being time wasters for me. I love to tweet and check my iPhone often for notifications. But, if I really want to be productive and add more time back into my day, I must turn those things off. Focus is the key to productivity and it’s difficult to focus when there are distractions that pull your attention in other directions.
4. Get organized – Disorganization is one of the biggest killers of time that we face. When things are not organized, we waste time trying to get started, trying to get finished, and/or trying to get motivated. But, when we are organize, it’s easy to accomplish tasks and understand what’s next. To-do lists and filing systems are helpful to having an environment that is conducive to productivity. The time you take to get organized will pay off exponentially in time that is added back into your day.
5. Focus your energy on what gives you energy – The things that motivate and excite us are easier to accomplish. When we are faced with a to-do list that is full of things that drain our energy and even de-motivate us, it makes it almost impossible to find the energy to do everything else on the list. But, when we focus on the things that give us energy, we will find that our energy is increased each time we get something done. This is where asking for help will be important. In other words, give away the tasks that don’t give you energy and focus yourself on the things that do give you energy.
6. Prioritize – It’s not enough write out a to-do list. Often, if we stop there, we will end up doing the things that we like the most rather than the things that need to be done most. I feel most accomplished when I’m able to get the things that are high priority items done first. And, if everything’s a priority, nothing will be a priority. By prioritizing, you can schedule out your day and your calendar and it will help you better understand what needs to be delegated to someone else.
7. Create systems – I’m a BIG systems guy. I love them. I thrive in them. But, I also believe that they are a great asset when we’re trying to get more done. If systems are in place, we can move ourselves toward an automated way of getting tasks done. And, if we do the same things over and over, we will naturally get better and quicker at getting those things done. What’s your system for getting the kids ready for school in the morning? What’s your system for completing employee performance reviews? What’s your system for writing an organization-wide email? Etc…
What is your biggest time waster? Which of these could you implement this week to add more time back into your week? Comment below and let me know!