A common thought among all of us is that there is simply not enough time in the day to get everything done. At work, we spend a lot of time in meetings, talking to colleagues, going to events, on calls, and struggling to get time to actually get work done. Over the years I’ve found a few tricks that have really helped me to work more efficiently and effectively without working more.
Use technology to your advantage. When you’re surrounded by clutter, it’s really difficult to stay organized. I’ve found that technology can really help me stay on track while lightening the weight of my already heavy work bag! Use the cloud to store documents that you’re working on--that way you can get to them on any device. Find apps that help you keep track of your to-do’s and send you reminders. Sync your calendar on all your devices so you know what to expect for your day. Having easy access to your work at all times helps you to be more mobile.
Have more productive meetings. Start cutting meeting times in half. Parkinson’s Law states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". If you schedule a meeting for an hour, when it could really take 30 minutes, people will find a way to fill that hour. I’ve started to not schedule a meeting for more than 30 minutes, unless it’s for something major. And I only take 30 minute meetings if there is an agenda, and if not, I cut it to 15. This has made me so much more productive during the day and has cut out a lot of wasted time.
Take mini-breaks throughout the day. No matter how busy your day is, you need to get up, stretch your legs, or see the sun to clear your mind and set the refresh button. I like to take a few 5 to 10 minute breaks a couple times throughout the day. I find it keeps me a lot more energized. Sometimes you just need to take a few minutes to step away from work and relax. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Say no. Productive people say no more than they say yes. Saying yes to helping someone but having no time to actually do the work doesn’t make anyone's life easier. Now someone is waiting on you to get something done and you’re stressed because you still need to do it. If you had just said no in the first place, everyone's life would be easier. Saying no is the one thing that gives you the freedom to say yes to more important things.
Having a more balance in life leaves you feeling less stressed. Once you start to exercise some of these tips, you’ll quickly see how much extra time you have in the day.