There is no such thing as time saving anything and I can prove it.
Don’t believe me? Okay, we often say time is money, let’s say I gave you $1,000 yesterday and told you to get whatever you could with it, and you got 25-items.
Today we do the same thing. But this time you were twice as thrifty with the $1,000 and got 50-items. What happened? You didn’t save any money; you just doubled your stuff.
Isn’t that how time works? We can’t bank it in our life like some savings account. We’re given only a limited amount and forced to spend it with every blink and every breath. About all we can manage is to be more efficient with what we have, we can’t save it up to use in the end.
That said here are 3.5 easy methods proven to let you be more efficient with your time.
1. Mail. When we pull in the driveway at home, one family member who shall be nameless immediately goes for the mailbox. I’m grateful the mailperson only comes once a day at a predictable hour or this person might be out there every hour checking if we’ve got any new mail. Okay, not really, but you get my point.
Unfortunately, e-mail comes 24/7/365 and so many of us entrepreneurs really do check e-mail way too often.
Smart phones have helped with that which I’ll touch on later, but do yourself a huge favor; when on task don’t tempt yourself to check mail continually. Even if you feel you have some fairly important mail coming or think it will just take a second, because you run the risk of getting hooked on answering e-mails or writing new ones as long as you are there, and before you know it one-eighth of your work day was set adrift never to be heard from again.
Instead, turn off the automatic e-mail checking feature on your mailer, or at least turn off the audio notification, and allow yourself a set amount of time to do e-mail once or twice a day. When time is up, stop. Even if you are in the middle of something, stop. I guarantee you the more you do this, the more efficient you’ll be and the better distinctions you’ll make in what mail to receive in the first place.
2. Automobile University. Zig Ziglar, one of the great motivators of the past use to have a thing he’d call Automobile University. Basically, it was making use of unproductive time you are forced to spend in a commute to work, cleaning an office, or even mowing the lawn.
I’ve listened to many audio books, webinars, motivational programs, and on-line courses while commuting somewhere, exercising, cleaning the office, or any other task that doesn’t require much thought. I even answer or weed out unwanted e-mail with my iPhone on the fly.
This actually does two things. First, of course it allows you to get so much more good information in you that you’d not otherwise have, but more it makes a droner of a task… sort of fun. It got to a point with one audio book I read where I couldn’t wait to clean up the house or mow lawn just so I could get back to the book. I think my wife secretly hopes I’ll find a similar book… maybe even a trilogy or series.
3. Schwartz 33:33 Rule. Back in the day, copywriting legend Gene Schwartz came up with a method which allowed him to write his many books, and entrepreneurs still use it today. Set a timer for 33-minutes and 33-seconds, and start working. When the timer goes off, get up for a 5- or 10-minute break, then repeat the timer and get to work again.
At first, breaking your flow and interrupting your day seems counterproductive, but this mini-deadline is proven to work. You are training your mind to stay more focused when you sit down at your desk. Try it and see if it helps your productivity.
And now for the one-half-method you wondered about since reading the header …
3.5. Don’t work at all. That’s right, take some time off. Working continually only burns you out, makes you feel like there is no reward for your efforts, and your brain needs time away from what you do, even if you love what you do.
There is proof that your subconscious will go to work producing solutions and background work when your mind is at rest. We can reach a saturation point of productivity if we never give ourselves conscious time away from it.
I say this is the one-half-method not because it was half as important, but if you are like me, you are half likely to do it if left to your own workaholic tendencies; and it really does need to be observed and enjoyed.
This is just a sampling of ways to be more productive. Try journaling your day’s activities noting how much time you spend on each item, you’ll quickly identify the patterns and tweaks to your productivity.