Save fifteen minutes a day, and you’ll gain two extra weeks a year.
How do you find the time to achieve everything you want to achieve? 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 fifteen wasted minutes each day adds up to ninety-one extra hours a year, more than two full work weeks. Here are some simple ways to achieve this “miracle.”
1. SEPARATE EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS.
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, and do them right. (You’ve probably heard someone say, “I don’t have time to get organized” or even “I don’t have time to do it correctly right now, but I’ll come back later and fix it” — as if the future holds limitless time to undo and redo something done poorly.)
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.
3. BLOCK-BOOK FOR BIG PROJECTS.
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’re 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 CD’s (mine if you like!) while commuting or traveling.
- When you plan to meet someone, do it in a place where you can accomplish something while you’re 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’ve just saved yourself weeks of time. What will you do with it?