Most people complain that they are too busy and simply do not have enough time for all the tasks they must accomplish before the day ends. They stare in amazement at how much work the most successful people can accomplish. The secret lies in effective scheduling of time for maximum productivity. There are a dimes and dozens of books on maximizing productivity but really, nobody has time to read all of those. Here are some simple but tested tips which would drastically improve your productivity through the day.
This may seem obvious but the main problem with plans is that it is not effective and convoluted. Many people set up plans that are unrealistic and they are simply unable to follow them rigorously. Instead of setting up an elaborated calendar with all the tasks you need to accomplish during the next week, start by working backwards with the amount of time you have.
A week in a nutshell:
Minus 49 hours of sleep (7 hours a day)
Total of 119 hours awake
Minus 10 hours of travelling (2 hours a day to and from work)
Minus 45 hours of work (9 hours of work)
Minus 7 hours of eating (2 meals a day)
Minus 7 hours of exercising (1 hour everyday)
Total of 50 hours for other activities
As you can see, an average working adult would have around 50 hours left for other activities (adjusted for personal commitments). This is a much better way of planning your time as you would have inherently prioritized your time from the beginning with the non-negotiables such as sleeping, eating and even exercising! The remaining 50 hours can be distributed to your entertainment needs or other priorities that you might have.
The beauty with this model that the assumptions can be tweaked and suited for individual needs. Some work in professions which require longer working hours while others prefer more sleep. It is crucial to find your own personal requirements and know when you operate most effectively. For example, I require at least 8 hours of sleep at night and I like to take a short nap after lunch at the office. This helps me prolong my productive periods during the day.
Most people know that exercising keeps them healthy and strengthens their immune system. However, an added benefit of exercising and staying fit is that it produces dopamine, a chemical which makes you happy and keeps you motivated. Ever felt that you are more focused and less distracted after exercising? This is attributed to the magical chemical which is produced when you exercise.
Many successful men and women swear by exercising at least 20 minutes a day. If you really feel hard-pressed for time, perhaps you could adopt the ‘Charles Koch’ methodology of exercising, where he posits the ‘minimum time, maximum result’ theory. In order to save time, he exercises to get himself tired as fast as possible. The key take-away is that no one is too busy to exercise as exercise actually helps improve your productivity and energy level throughout the day.
Have Enough Sleep
Another obvious but difficult to achieve ‘luxury’ is to have enough sleep every night. Most people procrastinate during the day and are unable to achieve their desired hours of rest every night.
Having enough sleep helps your brain operate at a higher level during the day, allowing you to comprehend information and execute decisions faster. This essentially helps you to ‘save time’ during the day and reduce the time you are merely idling around in the office because you are simply too tired.
Eating healthy, exercising regularly, having enough sleep and performing well are not mutually exclusive outcomes. All it takes is effective scheduling and prioritization. Start by planning your non-negotiables such as having enough sleep at night, exercising regularly and you would soon see your productivity pick up during the day. Alternatively, hiring a life coach is a good choice if you need a third party to assess your time management skills and planning objectively. Life Coach Spotter is a good place to get started!