Here’s why Friday 23rd October could be your most productive day of the year
If you’re heading down the motorway to Center Parcs or flying to the Bahamas this evening for a week or two’s holiday, then today could be extremely productive. Why? Because you’re not going to be around next week so everything has to be finished today! And even though you’ve got loads to do, somehow you’ll get it all done, possibly with time to spare. You won’t be procrastinating, you won’t be angst-ing over things, you’ll be making quick decisions, you’ll be prioritising well, you’ll be leaving the little stuff, you’ll be delegating more and you’ll be giving clear, concise and succinct instructions your team. And ironically you’ll be feeling energised and positive when you leave work.
Could we replicate that efficiency everyday? Could we…
1 ‘Go on Holiday Everyday’
Nothing actually beats having to board a train or plane to increase our productivity but we can simulate that good pressure.
Before we start a task, simply deciding how long we’re going to spend on it and then using the countdown timer function on our phone will result in us being more focused and working at a faster pace. Making a commitment to meet someone at the end of the day by a certain time will also help (a friend at a gym class, the family for a 6 o’clock dinner, the theatre, etc.). Perhaps getting in earlier and getting (what seems like) a days work done before everyone else drifts in.
And here are a couple of my other favourite time-management techniques:
2 A Delayed Break
We often reward ourselves with a break when we’ve finished a task – perhaps going to grab a coffee. Rewards are good and they do work but try this variation next time. When you’ve finished one task, start the next task and do it for 5 minutes – and then take your break. You’ll find that your break will be shorter (because your keen to get back) and when you do get back to that second task, your subconscious will have doing some useful thinking for you over your break.
3 Get up earlier
I was chatting to an ex-client the other day who commented that his business partner (his son) now gets up and works or studies between 5:30am and 7:30am (when the kids get up). He recently completed a course in copy writing. I was greatly encouraged and asked his dad what had motivated him to do that. Apparently his son had read several books about successful people and one of the common traits he’d noticed was that they all got up early to get ahead. He took the view that if it worked for them it might just work for him. So, he’s giving it a go.
4 Stop working
There is empirical evidence to show that we’re more productive if we take periodic breaks, whether we’re doing physical or mental work. Apparently 90 minutes is the optimum time to work for. See what works best for you. And apparently, according to an old story, we should work for 6 days and rest for 1. Proper rest that is – not doing a whole pile of household chores. See if that old six/one recommendation works for you.
If you’d like to know of some other cool time-management techniques then come along to next week’s seminar on Wednesday 28th October (or the one on Thursday 26th November). Amongst lots of other good stuff, I’ll be sharing some tools and techniques to improve your effectiveness and efficiency.