Time is money, Benjamin Franklin once said. But actually, it’s so much more valuable than money. If you lose money, you can always make some more. But, once you have wasted a day, you never get to live it again.
In order to achieve more we are tempted to work more hours and run faster. However, productivity is not about squeezing more work into your days. It’s about getting more IMPORTANT things done faster and spending the time saved with your family and things that really matter.
Let’s look at the biggest leaks that are sucking up our time when we’re not watching.
- Starting something before thinking it through.
It is proven, that every 15 minutes spent on planning will save you 1-2 hours later on.
- Misplacing things.
Keep your files, your desk and your car organized.
- Ineffective meetings.
Weekly meetings with too many people and no real agenda, meetings instead of short phone calls, meetings instead of using email.
- Excess usage of e-mail.
Use filters and auto-replies, turn off notifications from sites such as Facebook, mailing lists with far too much traffic;
- Excess socializing.
Set a limit to everyday small talk, both real-life and virtual.
- Failing to avoid interruptions.
Block out quiet periods of personal time to work on your most important tasks.
- Failing to deal with procrastination.
If a task is too overwhelming to handle, break it up into many smaller tasks. Or use the 10-minute rule to work on it for only 10 minutes. This gets you going.
- Delegating tasks, not responsibilities.
When delegating work, give the person a whole project to handle. Reward the outcome accordingly.
- Saying yes when we could say no.
When someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to or have time to do, just say so.
- Working on “small potatoes”.
Often something small and irrelevant might seem important and interesting. Watch out for things like that.
Once you have plugged those time leaks it’s a lot easier to see new ones. And there’s a lot more of them to plug once you learn how to discover them.