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Saving 2 Hours Per Work Day is Easy!

Saving 2 Hours Per Work Day is Easy!

Some people talk about the notion that they don’t have enough time. They talk and talk and talk… but they don’t take any action and change what they’ve got. They hope their circumstances change so they can benefit more from what they do.

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    Smart people take charge. They change their lives by doing things differently. They understand that the only change they can count on is the change they create. For those people, this is the article that can make them save 2 hours per work day. Of course everybody else is invited to read along as well. Just make sure you don’t just read. You have to read, implement, and benefit. Reading alone won’t make you save time.

    This Is The Basis Of 2 Hours Saved Per Day

    Since you have time to save and not time to waste, I won’t go into all the tiny details. I know you are a professional, highly educated person who can think for yourself. So here are the 4 rules you can use to start saving time.

    1. Know what you want and do everything possible at any moment to get there.
    2. Make a clear plan and start working consciously.
    3. Learn smart working techniques (more on that later).
    4. Analyze your working day and remove all that is not helping you (outsource, eliminate, etc.).

    That’s basically it. When you do that, there is no way you cannot save time when working.

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    Smart Working Techniques

    Plan Your Time

    One of the most important things you can do is learn to plan your time ahead. I’m not just talking about the current day or week, but also this month and probably even this year! Many people let others dictate their schedule. This could be co-workers, your boss, customers, etc. Find out your own productive times and do what you do best during those hours.

    Interruptions

    Make sure you don’t just outline your day with the things you can plan, also schedule time for interruptions. That’s right, you must schedule your interruptions: all of the people who have questions, those who want to chat with you and just try to put their problems on your plate. You need to schedule this into your planning.

    You could say that from 12:00 until 12:30 everybody can ask questions on whatever they want. Outside these hours, people should not do any kind of small talk. I know this may sound harsh and cold, but think about it… what is your biggest goal at work?

    Are you paid to get results or be a person who talks with others about nothing all day? Small talk is great, but not all day. And of course, you can make it 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon, or 4 times for 30 minutes, whatever you want. Just schedule this so you can get things done!

    Educate People

    One reason why you will get more done using the ‘schedule interruptions’ method is because you educate people that you want to work during your non-interruption moments. Of course, the way you deliver that message also has a big impact on the way people look at you. :) Educate people with clarity and a good heart; be firm and let them know why you do this.

    You also educate people by the way you work with them. You can schedule interruptions and still have this fail. Why? Because if you start to make small talk with everybody else during your normal working time then you will not set a good example.

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    Be the change, live the change, and change will occur! If you can’t change, how can you expect other people to change for you?

    Meetings

    One of my rules about meetings is this: I don’t take part if it is not really, really necessary for me to be there.

    Even if my presence is needed, I make sure that I influence or change the agenda in such a way that my sections are at the beginning. I enter the meeting when it starts. I leave when the meeting has discussed my points.

    Also, when a meeting is really unstructured and seems to go nowhere, I tell people I have to leave. My time is really valuable and I don’t want to waste it. Doing what I do best has more impact than sitting with a group of people who are sitting there to kill time.

    Does this work? You bet! Do I get to see strange faces when I leave? In the beginning, people thought this was strange. When I explained to them why I do this, they usually understand.

    Email

    Oh boy… the big one. The one thing that most people start at the beginning of the day and close when they go home is their email client.

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    When you need distractions, and you have lots of time, you must keep your email client open. If not, close it. Don’t open it until the end of the morning. Process all your emails and close the tool again. Then, at the end of the day, you open up the email tool and process your emails again.

    When this is working out for you, only go through your emails once a day. Just imagine, before you had a look at each email coming in — all the time you were losing, a minute reading that email and responding to it (another 1 to 2 minutes). That means 2 to 3 minutes per email.

    Just say you receive 40 emails each day (that few??? Yes, because this is an example). 40 emails mean 40 distractions and 80 to 120 minutes of email time.

    Now you do this only once and you see immediately that things are solved via email by others, things are no longer relevant, etc. You can email back faster because you see all of them. Perhaps you include a couple of people in one response. You can easily save 60 minutes alone on your email time!

    Reading Materials

    Yes… you can save time when reading. You probably heard about speed reading techniques.

    Now don’t go wild and imagine that you need to read with 1000 or perhaps 2000 words per minute to make a real difference.

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    Imagine you read 2 hours each day. When you double your reading speed, you save one hour each day. Simple stuff, yet you are able to save lots of time. And that is done by just doubling your reading speed! The beauty is that you can do that easily in a couple of short sessions. Then, from that moment on, you can read twice as fast as you did before.

    The Result

    What do you think will happen when you start applying these ideas? Do you think 2 hours per work day is a lot or just the beginning? I am sure that the moment you do what you learned here, you will be on your way to wonderful working days again.

    You will be home on time, have lots of free time, accomplish more, and have less stress. The biggest pitfall is this: you look at what you just read and think “I know this stuff and it works,” but you don’t actually use it on a consistent basis. When you don’t use this every day and you just think about the article… you just wasted a couple of minutes of your own time.

    Sorry to be this direct, but you know in your heart this is the truth.

    Action Points

    People who want more time take one of the items above and use it for at least a week. People who want to change their lives, have a lot more free time, accomplish a lot more in the time they have… they start using all of this right now! These are the people who will benefit the most.

    Action point: use what you read

    Action point: if you don’t use what you read, stop talking about the fact that you don’t have enough time. You now have a way to do and be more in the time you have each day.

    Action point: Make a list of things you want to accomplish with the 2+ hours you get each working day from now on. You need this :)

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    Published on January 16, 2019

    How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

    How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

    We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

    You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

    You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

    That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

    Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

    1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

    Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

    We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

    To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

    At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

    The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

    2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

    Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

    The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

    In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

    It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

    It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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    So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

    • Are you a great strategist?
    • Are you an effective planner?
    • Is Project Management your strength?
    • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
    • Are you the ideas person?
    • Is Implementation your strength?

    Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

    3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

    One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

    Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

    Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

    Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

    4. Take Time for Planning

    “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

    One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

    You can take the time to think about:

    • What’s the purpose of the project?
    • How Important is it?
    • When does it need to be delivered by?
    • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
    • What are the KPIs?
    • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
    • Who is working on this project?
    • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
    • What tolerances can I add in?
    • What are the review stages?
    • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

    Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

    5. Focus on Priorities

    Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

    Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

    One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

    1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
    2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
    3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
    4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

    James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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      The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

      If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

      If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

      6. Take Time Out

      To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

      If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

      Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

      In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

      Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

      7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

      Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

      I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

      Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

      If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

      8. Stop Multitasking

      Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

      So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

      When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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      If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

      9. Work in Blocks of Time

      To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

      I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

      Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

      Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

      Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

      Then take another 10-minute break.

      Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

      By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

      10. Get Rid of Distractions

      Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

      “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

      Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

      If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

      11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

      You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

      Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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      Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

      12. Take a Time Audit

      Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

      Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

      You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

      Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

      Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

      At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

      If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

      13. Protect Your Confidence

      It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

      When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

      Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

      When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

      Final Words

      A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

      The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

      If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

      Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

      Reference

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