If you were a child in the 1990's in England there is a very good chance that you watched a programme called Bernard's Watch. Although there was a plethora of fantastic children's TV shows at that time, Bernard's watch was my favourite. Why? Bernard's Watch was special: it could stop time. With just a press of the watch's button he was able to stop Birds in mid flight and pause the entire planet. I remember thinking to myself at the ripe old age of 8 ''What would I do if I had Bernard's watch''?
Sadly, Bernard's watch only exists in the world of children's fiction. I'm sure each of us would pay a lot of money to get their hands on such a magical watch. What would you pay for more time? There are ways however that we can get more out of the time we have. It's interesting that we all are given the same amount of time yet how we use it varies greatly. Think about it, you are given the same amount time in a day as your Role models, who every they may be. Interesting, right?
Lets look at what we can do to get more done in less time.
1. Do Important Tasks first
If looking busy was a profitable skill to have, I would be retired and rich by now. Of the many jobs I've had, I'd say honestly that in all of them there were times where I was spent looking busy. Doing small, insignificant tasks that would trick myself and my colleagues into believing I was being productive. I'm convinced I'm not alone in this, in fact, I feel there is a global epidemic of 'looking busy'. It's tempting to tackle the little jobs first, such as checking emails but let's be honest, there are more important tasks at hand. Mark Twain said '' if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that are going to happen to you all day long''. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. Developing the habit of eating the Frogs at the earliest opportunity. Once the most important task if out the way, you'll feel a great sense of achievement compared to completing a small, worthless job that could have been left to complete another time or left completely.
2. Limit distractions
Interruptions in person, incoming phone calls, incoming email, Facebook and Twitter notifications, Youtube videos- the list of possible distractions is endless. The number of distractions has risen greatly compared to say 20 years ago, nowadays we are so much more contactable. Long gone are the days when the landline telephone was the main source of contacting someone. You'll be amazed at just how much work you can get completed when your mind has one focus. Make yourself a Coffee, go offline if possible, put the phone on silent and on flight mode, the virtual world will still be there when you reconnect. Just think, how much more work could you complete if you were completely undistracted?
3. Set Clear Deadlines
Parkinson's law states “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Having lots of time to complete a task isn't always a good thing, there are more opportunities to delay and procrastinate. Set yourself very clear deadlines for each task you have to complete, for example- I have 20 minutes this morning to catch up with Emails. Think back to School days where the majority of students would be completing homework, the night before it was due in. Less time means more focused and productive work- as long as the deadline is realistic, allowing just 60 seconds to check your Email daily would, of course, be counterproductive- although quite refreshing. An App I like to use ishttp://e.ggtimer.com/ where you can set a deadline for yourself and at the end of the time the Egg Timer will go off. There's a real sense of urgency and fun when working like this, give it a go for yourself.
Each of these tips can help you to get more done in less time, use all three of them together for even more effectiveness!
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