There should be more than 24 hours in a day. Too much to be done and not enough time. The obvious solution to this is planning down to the last minute. These five ways to stay efficient is something which can be practiced where a lot is going on. Let us know what you think after:
1. On Sundays, plan your coming week
Sundays are great for planning. Try to come up with all the tasks that need to be done in the coming week to get an overview. The main idea is to think ahead and put everything down on a piece of paper (or in a tool), and set daily goals for what needs to be done. After trying this, reaching the goals that are set becomes the main focus, and this decreases the time spent on drinking coffee and answering absolutely all emails you have received.
A task is something productive that needs to be done, like holding a presentation for a prospective customer, or adding a new feature to the product you’re working on. It is not to spend two hours on Facebook, that’s not a productive task (unless you’re doing marketing on Facebook of course).
2. The Touch-It-Once Rule
The Touch-It Once rule goes like this: If you have opened an email that requires you to answer it, then answer it right away. Do not procrastinate answering and avoid thinking about this email you have to answer, just answer it right away and be done with it. There are several effects of this; the most obvious one is that important emails that need to be answered are not just lying around in your inbox. Also, your inbox is more tidy, and when opening your inbox you only look at unanswered emails received since yesterday afternoon and not since the start of time. There’s a lot of research that has been done on how much time each employee in businesses waste by reading and writing emails, some claim that we receive 304 business email per week and check our email 36 times per hour. Clearly, there is time to be saved here- how many of us are expecting an important email all the time, the whole day and every day? Go ahead and focus on those which really matter.
3. Stick to your plan, but be agile
It is important not to take it too far with planning and scheduling your day. Say you have scheduled to start creating a project plan for your new project, but then you get a call from school that your child is sick. Clearly, the project plan must wait, and you must go and pick up your child. Making sure your kids are healthy and taking care of them when they’re sick is also a task, but a task that is hard to put in a schedule. It happens when it happens, and there’s not much you can do about it.
But: Do not make this excuse too often, then it becomes a permanent excuse to do nothing.
4. Use the right tools
Using the right tools for your job is crucial, and will save you countless hours compared with being stuck with a bad tool or (even worse) no tool at all. If you have a bad tool, do not hesitate to replace it. It’s like struggling with an old car, sooner or later it must be replaced, and it’s much better to do it sooner rather than later.
If you work in marketing and post to social networks, use a tool like HootSuite or SproutSocial to post simultaneously to multiple social networks and to schedule posts. It is a complete waste of time to post manually to social networks. Same thing with finances, if QuickBooks doesn’t work for you, replace it.
5. Meetings, phone calls and other disturbances
Atlassian has investigated how many interruptions an employee has during an average day, and they found that it is up to 56 interruptions per day. This is everything from someone tapping you on the shoulder in order to discuss the performance of your favorite football team to your email notifier on your smartphone to checking Twitter. Meetings are another one altogether – never got to meetings that do not have an agenda anymore. Meetings should be short, to the point and then we’re done but in most companies, this is not the case though. Meetings can take forever, and too many are invited to them. Having six people in a meeting is twice as expensive as having three people in a meeting, so there’s a financial aspect here as well. It is simply unproductive time, so never go to meetings without an agenda or where you do not have to be present. Other disturbances that are outside your control (like people calling you) are harder to control. But making clear that you’re busy normally helps to cut down the length of unexpected phone calls.
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