Time, there’s not enough to go around. Who doesn’t feel constantly that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it in? You can get more work done in less time today, and accomplish more. It’s all about how to manage your time better. These secrets of efficient time management will help you accomplish more at work, while they simplify your life.
Here are ways to get more work done in less time.
20 Tips for Getting More Work Done in Less Time
- Know your goals, and write them down. You can get more work done in less time if you know your goals. Where are you headed? A purpose-driven life invests you with the power to resist wasting time. Everybody makes way for people who know where they’re headed. If you don’t know where you’re going, you waste time spinning your wheels. List what you want to achieve in life, in your career, in your relationships, for personal fulfillment. Lists have subconscious power in your life to motivate you. The goals on your list are your destinations. Every time you review your list of goals, you reset your personal GPS in the right direction.
- List your work and work your list. You can get more work done in less time when you create and use a to-do list for your work responsibilities. This is the single, number-one best way to create more time for yourself. Prioritize the items on your list, and estimate how much time it will take to finish the item. Identify what is really important on your list, and consider what tasks are time-sensitive and what work is optional. Opening the mail is a routine task, but responding to a factory emergency is critical. Balancing the checking account is not time-sensitive, but getting the payroll out is. Reserve time to manage your to-do list first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
- Delegate work. You can get more work done in less time by delegating work. Delegation is such an important skill to leverage the time available. When you delegate, you expand your productivity, doubling or tripling your time. Delegate household repairs to a carpenter. Delegate the housework to a maid service. Delegate lawn mowing. Delegate your car repairs. Delegate driving to a chauffeur or a car pool group. Delegate someone to review your emails and answer them. Whenever it is affordable and reasonable, delegate your work.
- Use the newest office technology. You can get more work done in less time by using new technology. If the work you do has to be proofread, drafted, approved and updated by several people, consider using virtual collaboration, so you can all edit and confer together. Use IM Instant Messaging to answer questions quickly, and to put out fires when they are just sparks. Let IM be another a tool for communication when those issues just can’t wait, or just shouldn’t wait.
- Do it now. You can get more work done in less time if you don’t procrastinate. The power of taking action will save you much time and relieve stress. Time managers tell us to handle each piece of paper just once. If you postpone a chore, the thought of it becomes a distraction. Your mind worries about it. So, if a task is important, expedite it. Make the call, write the note, forward the information to someone else. Do whatever it takes to complete the task right now.
- Avoid perfectionism. You can get more work done in less time if you accept things less than perfect. Perfectionism is the desire to turn out perfect work. It saps your energy and interferes with efficiency. Stop sweating the details. Almost nothing you do needs to be 100% perfect. 90% OK is usually just fine for most of your every day work. I had a boss who wrote emails to me as if he were writing for publication. And yes, he was a perfectionist in other ways, too. He could have managed his time better.
- Turn off technology. You can get more work done in less time if you don’t waste time unnecessarily. Don’t let technology run your life and manage your time for you. Set up technology-free periods, when you don’t use email, television, phones, instant messaging. Schedule a certain time to return calls, to answer email.
- The technology time trap. You can get more work done in less time if you keep things simple. Technology is supposed to save you time, but sometimes it wastes more time that it saves. If you try to stay abreast of every tech innovation, there won’t be time for anything else. The latest toolbar, cell phone upgrade, the revised browser add-on, the newest gadget, the software update, the new version of a download, every tech gizmo takes up your valuable time. How much time have you wasted just closing the pop-up box that says “Updates are ready for your computer. Click here to install these updates.” If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
- Get your paperwork organized. You can get more work done in less time by organizing paperwork. The computer revolution was supposed to do away with paperwork, but smart, hard-working people are still drowning in paperwork. The easiest way to organize papers is by using an expanding accordion file folder, with alphabetized or dated sections. Categorize your papers by client name, or employee, or vendor, or project, or city, or product, or event. It really makes a difference. The person I replaced at work said she was so busy she often spent the night working in her cluttered office. With planning, organizing and accordion file folders, I was able to get the same job done in thirty hours a week.
- Avoid the crowd gossiping around the water cooler. You can get more work done in less time by avoiding distractions. All their rumors and speculation and hearsay are useless in the grand scheme of things. You can manage your time more productively. Thieves are everywhere trying to steal away your time. If people often interrupt you, they are stealing more of your valuable time. Put a sign on your chair that says, “Hard at work. Pretend I’m invisible.”
- Combine your trips around town and around the office. You can get more work done in less time by planning ahead. You save yourself interruptions, time and gas when you combine trips to the library, post office, dry cleaner, car wash, shopping, barber shop and errands. Better yet, when possible delegate these errands to someone else with more time.
- Quit smoking to save time. You can get more work done in less time if you stop smoking. You would be amazed at how much time smokers spend on cigarette breaks while they stand outside on the cold sidewalk. It also takes time and money to buy smokes. And you waste time getting back into the train of thought for work.
- Get enough sleep at night, so that you will have enough energy for all that’s required of you the next day.
- Are you a video game junkie? A lot of people fritter away their valuable time in a virtual world and neglect their real world responsibilities. Note to self: Solitaire is not an efficient use of my time.
- By the same token, how much time do you waste following the sports news? Do you obsess about the stats of every team and the outcome of every game? If everyone comes to you to rehash all the latest news, no matter whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, soccer or Nascar races, you are not managing your time well. You can get more work done in less time if you stay on task.
- Don’t be a complainer. Avoid negativity. A gloom and doom attitude dampens your enthusiasm for your work and affects your output. Think positively about your work and the importance of your responsibilities. You can get more work done in less time with a positive, enthusiastic attitude.
- Stay on top of new developments in your field by reading and study. You can learn to work more efficiently and manage time better from the leaders and mentors in your business.
- Use “Dead Time” well. You can get more work done in less time if you use dead time well. Dead time is the time spent driving, or exercising, waiting on hold, watching television, sitting in the airport, or waiting for an appointment. Manage dead time to catch up on other tasks. You can make your phone calls, listen to audio books, or review your to-do list. Carry a voice recorder to keep a record of those unexpected thoughts that will help you get ahead. Mark the items on your to-do list that can be done during dead time.
- Carpool to work or take public transportation if it is at all possible. You can get more work done during the commute. You’ll save gas money and parking fees but even better carpooling or riding the bus allows you some free time to get ready for the day at work. Carpooling is also a good excuse when the boss wants you to work late. And if you can afford it why not get a limousine and a driver?
- Don’t spend time on busy work. Determine how much of your work is critical to your job, and how much is busy work. There may be tasks you can cut back on or even eliminate. The 80-20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, says that 20% of your activities contribute 80% of your value to the business. Identify and spend your time on the important 20%. Get more of the important work done by avoiding nonessential busy work.
- Set up a daily routine and have your time planned. People get more work done in less time when they know what they are doing and how they’re going to do it. Don’t waste time asking yourself “What should I do next?” With a daily routine you do what you have to do when it needs to be done. People are amazed with the amount of time they gain when they create a routine for themselves.
- Don’t waste your energy trying to change what can’t be changed. Other people at work have a personal agenda that’s different from yours. They have unique values, points of view and goals on the job. Not everyone wants to get promoted. Not everyone wants to be tech savvy. Not everyone wants to be indispensable on the job. Adjust your expectations of people. Don’t expect people to be mirror images of yourself. Get more work done in less time when you put your energy to good use.
- Is your boss a workaholic? Are you always expected to show up early and stay late? Do you feel that your time at work is often wasted because you have to make yourself available on his schedule? If you can get your work done in less time than the boss expects, look for an opportunity to talk candidly to your boss about time management. If other departments have a more reasonable schedule, put out feelers for a promotion or a lateral transfer to another position. Or, can you use the extra time on the job to further the other career goals on your list?
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