The most precious resource we all have is time. Steve Jobs
A new year has arrived, but the world is still spinning frantically. There is no time to waste.
So – time. Is indeed a great asset many people fail to understand. Not because they don’t feel the ticking, but because they don’t know how effectively manage it. One thing we all know – “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” (Heraclitus), which is a poetic way to say we cannot freeze time or have it back. Our challenge is therefore “to decide what to do with the time that is given us” (J. R. R. Tolkien).
Because video conferencing has everything to do with saving time, we decided to give you some tips on time management. We will dwell on how to manage time in your working environment, but you can adopt some of the ideas to your personal life. In fact, you should save some for you and your family and friends – it is important to live life and bring enriching inputs from the experiences you collect to what you do – including your job.
Plan your week ahead…
… and keep planning every day. Planning in advance is half the battle and gives you a clear idea of what to do and where to start. Lack of preparation is like swimming on deep waters. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to help you plan your week – digital schedules, online apps like Trello or Weekplan or even mobile apps with reminders. Paper diaries are still fancy and can be your desk company during the week.
Also find your own work routine. For instance, start by reading the news, checking your email for urgent matters and your daily schedule for readjustments. Then set goals for each task. What do you need to accomplish? How long will it take? This will help you to define the time you need to perform the task and give you a clearer view of your daily amount of work.
Don’t underestimate the power of a checklist
Yes, a simple task list can make wonders for your time management demand, and to support it you should read the words of one of its greatest defender. American doctor Atul Gawande wrote a checklist manifesto and proved some successful – and impressive – results. He adopted checklists in several hospitals and the death caused by medical complications reduced about 35%. Plus, he considered checklists to bring security and control over work, and a boost on efficiency, focus and accuracy.
Why is this so hard? If you are in position of sharing tasks, why do you keep piling up work? We know what you are thinking – nobody does things better than you. That is not entirely true. You belong to a team of coworkers with the same top goal – to make the organization succeed – so you must trust their discernment and capacity.
Takeaway: to delegate is also a way of empowerment and is highly motivational for the person you are trusting in. It is a good way of training someone and to make them satisfied and committed to the job. Nobody likes to be left on the corner. People want to participate, feel useful, be rewarded for their good work. Besides, when you trust someone, you are fostering a relationship of reliance, which is crucial for success to happen.
What is more important for each task? Quality? To be delivered on time? Do this exercise to every item on your list. It’s a good way to self-evaluate your performance and measure your level of efficiency.
Takeaway: Prepare for your meetings in advance. Avoid the excuse “I did not have the time to look at this”, unless you want your audience wary of what you will say next. Instead make a good impression on your colleagues, partners and clients with a fluid speech and solid answers. They will see you as someone who takes at least 5 minutes to get prepared, so you must be organized and trustable.
Resist the temptation
There are plenty of distractions over our desk that take you time and kill your productivity – computer and mobile devices with internet access are the worst.
Fight the enemies of productivity
Smartphones: new generations are so dependent on their mobile phones they check it at least 43 times a day. If you do the same but can’t fight the feeling, try switching it off or leave it behind during important meetings or tasks.
Email and googling: it’s hard to avoid them, but try to check email during specific hours.
Social media: peeking your friend’s profiles on Facebook or Instagram only takes 5 seconds, you say. But then you spend 10 minutes reading your feed. Probably you do this because you are bored. Why don’t you take a break instead?
Breaks save you time
We are not machines and our bodies require small breaks to recover energy. Besides, science tells us breaks help be more focused. Our brains are constantly being stimulated and our attention is attracted by many things at the same time. To combat or mind dispersion, specially if we are committed to perform long tasks, we should take brief breaks in order to keep the focus. When you stop, you think more clearly. We need some quick detachment from what we are doing to see in from another perspective. Taking a break may help us redefine goals or redo things that are not correct and we were too concentrated to pay attention. So take 5 minutes several times a day, 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 minutes in the afternoon – you decide – to breathe, get some fresh air and then return to see your task being done with ease.
Stop saying “yes” to everything
You won’t look good in the picture when you start failing. You want to help everyone and show you are capable of doing a lot, but you are only human, not a machine, so be fair to your physical and psychological limits.
Unplug when you leave work
We spend a great part of our day in our workplace. But, like everything else, we have to switch off and fill our minds with other thoughts. Don’t feel guilty. Your life is yours forever, but a job, well – it’s only a job. Do your best during office hours and have time to eat, to think, to have fun.
So take time for you – to eat better, to recreation, to get work done according to schedule. It allows you to create great ideas that inspire and distinguishes your business from others. It also makes you feel healthier – more time means less stress. Motivation will follow, and then success.
Why are you still wasting your time? Try VEEDEEO today for free and rush to save time.