We all have the same amount of hours in a day, but did you ever notice that some people get a lot accomplished with those hours? While others of us simply can’t find the time to get anything done. Experts are blunt about the reason behind this: it’s all about time management.
I never seem to get “around to it.” I never find the time to do all those things I claim I want to do:
• Work on my writing projects
• Organize the basement (Of course, if I throw something out, a week later my husband will ask me: “Where’s that thingamabob that goes on the whatsit?”)
• File important papers
• Organize family photos onto CDs or into scrapbooks
How about you? Do you say to yourself, “If only I had more time, I would (fill in the blank).” Ironically, I can I can somehow manage to find the time to watch my favorite television show, play Bejeweled, and check my Facebook page to get the latest family and friend updates. Priorities, my friends, that’s what it all boils down to.
So what can we do to enhance our productivity?
• Repeat after me: “Multitasking is the enemy of productivity.” For years I thought that to be productive, I had to do several things at once. It felt like I was getting things done, but I really wasn’t. Trying to concentrate on 2 or more tasks at a time causes errors. Additionally, this actually takes us more time to accomplish something. It’s so much enjoyable, and exceedingly more productive, to concentrate on finishing one project at a time.
• Do you get overwhelmed with all the things you want to get done? Create a “to-do” list and prioritize tasks in order to maintain your focus.
• Do you feel stressed? If you’ve had a long day at work, or can’t concentrate because of stressful circumstances, take your dog for a walk, exercise, or just sit on your porch and let your mind relax. Another option if something is bothering you? Write it down in a journal to de-clutter your mind.
• Got clutter? Is your workspace filled with papers, books, miscellaneous notes, and other stuff? Physical clutter tends to cause mind clutter. Take some time to clean up your space and you may find more energy to complete a project.
• Set aside an hour of time to work on a project, and break that hour into six 10-minute intervals. I did this recently to complete a writing project. Setting a timer, I used each 10-minute segment to complete part of my project. By sticking to it, I was able to complete my article.
• Make a commitment to yourself to avoid distractions – that includes email, Facebook, computer games, and everything else that takes up a lot of time; yet accomplishes nothing.
• Think about the time of day when you’re most productive. Some people I know are early risers, and get several things accomplished before they even get to work (this isn’t my cup of tea however; I tend to hit my snooze button a few times before I roll out of bed). Others burn the midnight oil, working on projects long into the evening hours.
The older I get, the more precious time becomes. Over the years, it seems like I’ve been constantly busy, yet ended up accomplishing little to show for it. These strategies have helped me break some bad habits that kept me from reaching my writing and other goals; hopefully, they’ll be of some use to you, as well.