In two weeks I will be launching my new online course on Time Management. Since this is such an important area for so many people, I thought I’d take this chance to look at the most important things you need to do in order to be super productive and effective.
Back in 2008 and 2009 I presented a TV show on Irish television called Not Enough Hours. In it, I worked with different people each week to help them handle their time and lives more effectively. When I reviewed the most important things I did on the show, I found a number of strategies I used over and over again.
Here is my summary of those strategies:
- DECIDE ON WHY IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU CHANGE
Understanding why it is critical that you change is the most important thing to start with. When you have a big enough WHY you will do what you need to.
- LEARN HOW TO SWITCH OFF
Leave work at work. Switch your work phone off. Avoid your work email. Create a ritual that separates work and home life and engage in it every day after you finish work. Make your brain know that you are in a different mode.
- TRUST OTHER PEOPLE TO HELP YOU
When I shared the stage with Sir Richard Branson a few years ago, in an interview he said that “delegation” was possibly the most important business skill he used. Trying to do everything yourself is a recipe for disaster.
- REMEMBER NO IS YES AND YES IS NO (LEARN TO SAY NO)
Every time you say NO to someone you are saying YES to someone else. Every time you say YES to someone you are saying NO to everyone else. So, the key is to figure out who are you going to say YES and NO to. They are your priorities.
- KNOW WHAT IS IMPORTANT AND WHAT IS URGENT
If you can figure out what is important and what is urgent you can decide on what to do, defer, delegate and delete.
- BE HONEST IN YOUR ESTIMATIONS
You probably won’t do everything as quickly as you think you will. Try and be as objective as possible when you are estimating time. Give yourself an extra 20% buffer time just in case.
- SCHEDULE IN FUN TIMES
If you don’t schedule in quality time with yourself, your family or friend… it may not happen. Make sure it does by making your personal time as important as your professional time.
- PLAN AHEAD
Think through your calendar in advance. The more strategically you plan, the more you can organise your time effectively. Do it in a way that works best for you!
- FIND SHORT CUTS
There are plenty of things that you do every day. Find a way of creating short cuts so that you can become faster and faster at doing them even more efficiently and effectively.
- BECOME AN EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGER
Work hard on everything that you are doing to improve and become the kind of person who manages their time effectively. By thinking of yourself like that you are more likely to behave like it.
Mastering how you use your time is really mastering how you live your life. The wonderful result of learning to master working with time is that we can maximise our success, wellbeing, productivity and happiness.