HOW do you find the time to achieve everything you want to? Suppose you were suddenly given the gift of two extra weeks each year to do anything you wanted. How would you spend this time?
What would you want to accomplish? Would you increase your efforts on an existing project? Start something new? Or even use it as restorative personal time?
This gift is not a fantasy. Eliminating just 15 wasted minutes each day adds up to 91 extra hours a year - more than two full work weeks.
Here are some simple ways to achieve this "miracle".
1. Do the right things
Don't confuse activity with accomplishment. Management expert Peter Drucker defines them like this:
* Efficiency is doing things right.
* Effectiveness is doing the right things.
There is no point doing well what you shouldn't be doing at all. Make the hard decisions about what you want and need to do. Then do them right.
You have probably heard someone say, "I don't have time to get organised" or even "I don't have time to do it correctly right now, but I'll come back later and fix it". But the future does not hold limitless time to undo and redo something done poorly.
2. Pace yourself
Your calendar is probably full as you try to squeeze in everything you need and hope to do. As hard as it may seem, don't overbook. Be realistic! Underbooking will actually allow you to achieve more.
Some projects can't be picked up and put down easily. Block-book your high-priority items.
Combining or piggybacking tasks makes you more efficient.
* While you are holding on the phone, sign letters or checks or mark magazine articles you want to read later.
* In small buildings, don't wait for elevators, take the stairs. It's good exercise, and you'll get there sooner.
* Have a meditation break instead of a coffee break.
* Listen to motivational tapes or CDs while commuting or travelling.
* When you plan to meet someone, do it in a place where you can accomplish something while you are waiting.
Save yourself hours of wasted time by confirming all appointments and flights. Yes, it takes time to confirm, but the payback can be enormous.
6. Do it now
One of the biggest time-wasters is waiting to do something until it doesn't matter any more. You lose more than just time. You surrender control to others or to random chance. And you sacrifice your two-week time bonus.
Some things have to be done perfectly. Some don't. Don't strive for perfection in items or actions that don't matter. People are usually paid to get results, not to be perfect.
Decide. Do it. And don't waste your time on regrets or rehashing decisions, justifying bad ones or salvaging poor time investments that ought to be written off.
Use the past as a guide for the future, not as an excuse for not dealing with it.
There! You have just saved yourself weeks of time. What will you do with it?