Save precious time for the better things in life.
You only have 24 hours every day. After deducting time to work, eat, travel and bathe, you still don’t have time for yourself! Why???
You may just be committing these nasty anti-productivity crimes that sap off precious minutes of your life every single day, the way a leaky tap wastes water.
CRIME #1: Not preparing a meeting agenda and action plan
Why waste two hours of time on an inconclusive meeting? Before a meeting, plan your agenda aka what you want to get out of it e.g. your boss’ approval on a campaign or a finalised department workplan for a big project ahead.
At the end of a meeting, note down actions, person responsible for those actions and deadline to update.
Respect each other’s time and give due recognition for tasks well done. If updates cannot be given in time, look deeper into the constraints that team member has to help him or her manage her workflow better.
Simply attempting to solve a problem by having meetings with no clear agenda is a waste of everyone’s time.
Crime #2: Planning your work in chronological order
For example, how many of us are guilty of checking emails first thing in the day and replying in order of time received?
Instead, distinguish IMPORTANT tasks from “urgent” tasks.
Important tasks form the core of why you were hired, and yes they may really be urgent to act on.
“Urgent” tasks which are not important may include favours people ask of you which are not vital to your core work. You have the upper hand to decide when and how to reply once you have cleared your core work.
Crime #3: Clearing the small stuff in the morning and saving big tasks for later
Settling small admin matters the first thing when you sit down at work just saps your morning energy. The endless minute tasks may overrun to the afternoon, leaving you no time to tackle big projects later.
Instead, make a date with yourself to finish the big project in a fixed amount of time at the beginning of the work day, before you work on the little things as a finisher for the day.
Crime #4: Doing the same old thing even if it wastes time, because it has always been done this way
You were not hired to be a robot, but a problem solver. If you still can’t solve the problem, be prepared to find a new job.
Crime #5: Needing to stay updated on email, WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram ALL the time
Turn your push notifications those apps off or only check your phone periodically. If it’s really important, ask your colleagues to give you a call instead. I really need to do this more often.
Crime #6: Doing housework too often
Do you really need to clean your floor every single day? You could really use that extra half hour to read that book to your child.
Crime #7: Not planning your day in advance
Whatever you need to take with you the next day, pack these items properly the night before and leave them near the door at a prominent designated area. You won’t have that sickening feeling you forgot something important when you reach work.
Crime #8: Keeping things that aren’t useful
How do you declutter? Throw away things which you haven’t used in a year, do not plan to use in the near future, or don’t give you joy (but keep those old love letters or important documents if you love referring to them).
Every second you use to look at an item which has no relevance in your life, is a second wasted. You can try out these decluttering tips here.
Crime #9: Not consolidating your trivial daily tasks
For important letters that would normally about 2 minutes a day to file (~ 6 hours of filing activity in 6 months), create a specific tray to temporarily hold them first.
Make a date for a once-in-six-months filing activity which takes less than an hour (~ 15 seconds a day), and you’ll only have to pull out the folders once, instead of over 180 times!
Crime #10: Not allocating a specific area for each item you own
Always struggling to find what you stored away 6 months ago? You need to revamp your storage habits. Create specific areas (could be a drawer, Toyogo box or room) to store your stuff.
Here are more productivity links to get you on the path to a smoother, better planned day.