Checklists are your friend

checklist

I don’t care how good your memory is. I don’t care how often you have done this task. If you really want to save yourself time and get far more done, then take the time to develop and use checklists for everything! The more you can get out of  your head, and on to a piece of paper, the more you will actually be able to accomplish, and the less stressed you will be!

 

 

 

Take short breaks

short breakTake a short break every hour

I know you are too busy to do this, and you just have too many things you need to do, and I can’t really be serious, but I am!

Set a timer if you have to.

Take a break.

Get up for 5 minutes and walk around.

Or just stop and take five deep breaths.

You will get more done, I promise!

 

© Terry Monaghan, 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

 

Take regular breaks

breaksIn his book “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” Tony Schwartz points out we work best in pulses.

We can focus on something for a period of time, and then we need a period of time to rest.

Most studies indicate that we can only focus intently for about 90 minutes tops before we need to take a break.

Brendan Burchard advocates taking a short break every hour.

I know you think that if you just press on for another 15-20-30 minutes you will get this done, but you are mistaken.

If you give yourself periods of time to focus (from 15 to 90 minutes) and regular periods of time to rest, you will get more done than if you just try to muscle through.

 

© Terry Monaghan, 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Schedule focused blocks of time

timeblocksWe’ve all had the experience of thinking something will take 30 minutes only to discover that it really took us 2 hours from start to finish.

Often this is because we are allowing ourselves to be distracted or interrupted in the middle of the task or project.

Or, we keep shifting from the phone to the computer to some research to looking for a file to getting a cup of coffee… (insert your own activity here).

Try blocking time for phone calls – and make all your calls during that block of time.

Or, block time for lunch and actually leave your desk (radical thought, I know).

Even a 15 minute block, uninterrupted, will make a difference in your day.

 

© Terry Monaghan, 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

5 Reasons to Work Less (and Get More Done)

Why is it we think the solution to getting something done is to throw more time at it? You know what I mean. Just 5 more minutes. If I just keep pressing through I will actually get it done.

Five more minutes turns into 2 hours, and we are no closer to finishing than we were before. Then, of course, we usually think there is something wrong with us. What’s wrong with us that we can’t get through this? And we can’t even think straight we are so tired!

I have had this conversation with every single client this week. Every. Single. One. Which leads me to believe that there is an epidemic of busy-ness going on. Frankly, I’d rather see BUSINESS happening.

So here goes. Since you seem to need someone to give you permission, here are 5 reasons to work less:

You are not a machine

Machines are designed (if they are well designed) to work continuously once they are turned on, until they are turned off. Humans are not designed that way! We work best when we work in pulses – periods of focus and concentration, followed by periods of rest and renewal. Even the best of us – those at the top of their game – can only work at peak intensity for about 90 minutes before needing a break. Plan out your day to include brief breaks at least every 90 minutes.

You get your best ideas when you are relaxed

It is only when you stop concentrating / focusing intently that your brain begins to make all kinds of connections. Those connections are what produce those lovely sparks of insight. That’s why so many of us get genius ideas in the shower, or while taking a walk, or doing something other than sitting at our desk trying to force the idea!

You can focus on your unique area of genius

When you stop trying to do everything (and everyone else’s job) you can focus on what you do best. That is also usually what gives you the most satisfaction, and what produces the most significant results for your business. Imagine: how much extra time you could have if you only focused on your job?

You will be more productive

When you allow yourself to focus on just one thing at a time, for a short period of time, you will get more done. Multi-tasking only gives the illusion that you are getting more done. Study after study has demonstrated that it actually takes longer to finish tasks when you are multi-tasking than if you just did one thing and then the other.

You will make more money

For most of us, being more productive will mean more revenue for our business and more money for us. Who doesn’t like that idea?

Now, when are you taking your first little break?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

Can an extraordinary boost in productivity be sustained?

An article in The Washington Post caught my eye last week. On the front page I saw the headline “What’s holding back job growth? ‘Extraordinary’ output by workers.

Since productivity is my passion, I was intrigued by the title and read the article (yes, I read my newspaper). There were some very interesting points made. For example:

One of the great surprises of the economic downturn that began 27 months ago is this: Businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.

The author went on to explain that, because both businesses and workers were thrown into a panic by the economic crisis:

Fearful of losing their jobs, people seem to have become more willing to stretch themselves to the limit to get more done in any given hour of work. And they have been tolerant of furloughs and cutbacks in hours, which in better times would drive them to find a new employer. This has given companies the leeway to cut back without the fear of losing valuable employees for good.

However, one of the conclusions made me sit up and say WHAT?

Although businesses are unlikely to reverse the changes they’ve made in the coming months and years — if you’ve suddenly become more efficient, why change unless you have no choice? — there is little reason to think they can maintain those extraordinary productivity gains in a more normal economy.

After all, if the boost depended on executives being panicked and workers having no option but to live with the changes, then the end of the deep crisis must mean that productivity gains will return to normal.

[emphasis added]

Granted, if the boost in productivity is solely dependent on fear – and is the result of freaked out employees desperately trying to do the jobs of 2, 3 or 4 people, that can’t be sustained. People will get burned out and productivity will disappear quickly.

But what if the boost in productivity comes from a fundamental shift in how work is getting done? Even if that shift is born out of fear, when processes get clarified, and work gets streamlined, and we stop filling up our time with busywork and endless interruptions, then the productivity gains can and do stick.

Just ask my clients!

Because without a life, what’s the point?

(c) 2010 Terry Monaghan

How much time does it really take?

I was talking with a colleague this evening. We were discussing how much time things really take. (Always either far more or much less than many of us think.)

I am always astonished when I hear someone commit to something without really looking to see if they can deliver on what they are promising. For example, one person will schedule a seminar they are going to lead six weeks into the future, without confronting the fact that they will be away or otherwise occupied for five of those weeks. Leaving them one week to get all the preparation done. Not to mention the marketing, sales and registration.

How well do you think that is going to work? Yep, not very well. And I suspect there is a whole lot of overwhelm on the horizon.

I know she thought six weeks was plenty of time. After all – it is SIX weeks. However, when we looked at her schedule she could see that even though it was six weeks in the future – she would only have a few hours available the week before the target date to work on her preparation and making the seminar extraordinary. So, we shifted the schedule.

When you start to approach your planning with this in mind it can really look like you won’t get very much done. After all, you won’t be able to say yes to more than you really have time to do well. But, trust me, in the end you will get MORE done this way, and you will have far less stress to deal with while you are at it.

Which would you rather do? Cram 40-60 hours of preparation into a week where you already have a full schedule, or plan exactly when you are going to do your preparation – taking the bigger picture into account?