You have many other things that you would like to accomplish, but just can’t find any extra time in the day. How can you take on something else when you schedule is already packed. It may even be something fun, but you just can’t manage it. The good news is that you can learn to be more efficient and also learn where you are wasting time. Most people don’t even realize that they do.
One of the biggest problems is that people believe if they start earlier and work later that you are a good worker. Everyone trying to stay at the office just a little later than the next person to make it look like they are working just a little harder than everyone else. It is really bad here in Japan, where many people will stay at work long after hours even if they have nothing to do.
Below I have listed a few things you can do to cut down on the time it takes to complete jobs and how to find extra time in your schedule. For a great book on time management, I highly recommend “The Four Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris. It is all about how to spend less time at work and more time doing the things you enjoy. And if work is what you enjoy, you will learn how to be even more successful.
1. Group tasks- Do all of one kind of task at a certain time. For instance, if you need to make phone calls, do them all in the morning or afternoon rather then here and there scattered through out the day. Not only will your technique get better by doing them this way, but you can do it faster because your mind is only doing one type of task
2. Do one task at a time- Multi-tasking is not efficient. People like to think that they are very talented because they can multi-task, but it is slower and you usually won’t do the job as good.
3. Learn the 80/20 rule and use it- It is likely that 80% of your results come from about 20% of your work. Or otherwise that 2 of the 10 things you do are responsible for most of your results. Find out what they are and do them better. Figure out they rest and see what you can eliminate. You must work effective and on the right things.
4. Learn to say no- People are constantly trying to get you to do things that aren’t important to your job or maybe don’t need to be done at all. Learn to tactfully say “no”.
5. Don’t let colleagues bother you at work. In order to work effectively, you must be able to concentrate. People constantly bothering you with questions, comments, or just wanting to talk distracts you and slows down your pace. When people come to you, tell them “hi “person’s name”, I am very busy right now, how can I help you”. If they start rambling on, repeat again that you are very busy and ask them to send you an e-mail. You can then deal with this e-mail when you deal with all your e-mails together. Another trick, and one recommended by Timothy Ferris in the 4 Hour Work Week, is to wear headphones like you are listening to music. People are much less likely to bother you. Especially when you look very busy.
6. Avoid meetings whenever possible. It’s true that there are times for meetings, but many times it is just people getting together because they want to talk or waste time. If someone wants to have a meeting, always find out why and what the point it is. Many times it is something that can be answered over the phone.
7. Work hard, but do take small breaks every once in a while to refresh. However, be sure not to take a bathroom or smoking break every 20 minutes.
8. Set up a schedule for your tasks. maybe a couple times a day, for checking and replying to e-mail, phones calls, and other things you might do. This would also include things like using the internet at home or the TV.
9. Limit your time on the internet or TV. We seem to have forgotten that there is more to life than TV and internet. When you cut back on things like movies you will be shocked how much free time you have. Try this as a test: On a day when you get home from work at a normal time, don’t do anything. Just sit and look out the window. No TV, no internet, no worrying about the kids, anything, just sit. You will realize there is a lot of time, but we just fill it with a lot of meaningless stuff.
10. Take some days to just relax. You can’t work efficient and effective if you are over working all the time. Take time to rest and relax without worrying about all the other stuff. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish when you are rested up.