How many interruptions do you get in a day?
How many times do you interrupt yourself in a day?
How many times do you just quickly check your email, the news, websites, social media?
According to Dovico.com the average person gets interrupted 7 times per hour for 5 minutes at a time which equates to 4 hours a day! Of that, 80% of the interruptions were rated as little or no value - meaning that you can save up to 3 hours a day if you learn to manage yourself and those around you.
When doing time optimisation training with teams, it is inevitable that email management comes up as a key point of discussion. One of the bad habits many people have, is that the first thing they do in the morning is open email and find that their plans for the day are suddenly put aside. One of best descriptions I have heard for email is the title "other people's priorities for your day." When viewed in that light, how would you say you planned your day? Do you allow your priorities to be the priority, rather than be taken over by what other people want and need from you?
There's a lovely expression which says: A crisis on your behalf does not equate to an emergency on my behalf. Useful actions that you can apply immediately
Plan your following day the night before (this is been proven to put your mind at ease, knowing that the day is planned and also to activate your subconscious to work on those plans so that you are better equipped to tackle them the next day)
Work on one thing at a time. The human brain uses the prefrontal cortex for cognitive processing and you can only process one thing at a time. By staying focused you'll not only finish it quicker with the quality of work higher as you have a consistent flow of thought.
Create block time in your day by using your calendar and communicating with the rest of the team when you're available and when you are not to be interrupted.
A way to ensure that you get the most out of your blocked time, is to commit to the team who is protecting your time exactly what you will get done with the time. After you have finished your block time, confirm how much you managed to achieve of the task you set yourself. It is incredible how much more we're inclined to do when we know that somebody is going to check on it.
Take breaks and find a way to reward yourself for achieving a task. I like to give myself 5-10 minutes on LinkedIn after I have completed a task.(I need to put a timer on this time because it is very easy to have 20 minutes pass by.)
If you want to find out how to make the most of your time I strongly recommend keeping a time-sheet for a couple of weeks and record what you doing every 15 minutes. I am not the biggest fan of keeping time-sheets from a personal perspective and confess upfront that I find the two weeks that we do this a bit of a drag. However the results are so illuminating that it is worth doing every year, as it highlights major areas that can be improved and where the time leaks way to. It also identifies time thieves in terms of bad habits and interruptions.
Time is our most precious resource: it is irreplaceable and must be wisely used. Self awareness and self observation lead to self improvement. What could you focus on this coming week? What small habit could you work on or put in place, for the next 30 days, that would make a dramatic impact on the way that you work? If we can help with any of this, please do get in touch.
Here's to your success!