“I wish I had enough time”, “I don’t have time”, “There is no time”, “How do you find time”, are examples of the statements I hear so often in my circles of family, friends, colleagues, students and acquaintances. The fact is that we all have 24 hours a day. Some people use them to become world-class leaders, receive awards and recognition, win the Noble prize, discover a cure for a disease or elevate other people’s lives. While others, spend their time complaining from ‘not having enough time’. One of my colleagues had asked me to share the secrets of my productivity in a session as soon as we’re back from the summer vacation. Considering the matter, I identified some tactics that helped me remain productive both in my professional and personal life. Here they are:
1- Be clear about your mission.
Why do you work for your organisation? Why did you think of having a family or brining out kids. The best start is with the ‘why’.
2- Be clear about your vision.
If you were to invite your family members and colleagues to celebrate your 80th birthday, what would you wish to hear them saying about you? Imagine it. Write it down or draw it if possible.
3- Identify your bucket list.
Write down the things you wish to achieve on the interval of a year. You don’t have to wait till the New Year Eve. You can start today. Prioritise them. Make sure to balance between personal and professional goals. Ensure to care for your heart, mind, body and soul.
4- Plan your month.
Allocate time on monthly basis to sit on your own in a quite place. Read your mission, look at your vision, and check your bucket list. Tick the things you accomplished and identify your top priorities for the coming month.
5- Identify your top priorities per week.
Come out with a list of the things to do during the week. Make sure to work on the important tasks not just the urgent. Allocate sometime during the week to tackle the tasks you feel always reluctant to conquer.
6- Journal every morning.
Scan you weekly list of things to do and identify the things that you need and want to tackle during the day. Again, balance between personal and professional tasks and between urgent and important.
7- Reflect at night.
One of the secrets of productivity is to keep a time tracker. Write down what you did during your day and identify the slots of wasted time.
8- Discover the reasons behind the wasted time.
Did you waste too much time doing a task that you could have delegated to someone else? Do you need to develop a certain skill to be more productive? Did you feel sleepy or less energetic due to lack of sleep? Were you unable to focus due to your dieting system or dehydration?
9- Schedule periodical tasks.
Could be shopping your grocery once per month. Checking your teeth every 3 months. Identify the things you keep doing on regular basis. Schedule them and add reminders on your mobile then get them off your head.
10- Keep yourself equipped.
Make sure to have the tools and materials you need to use and keep them accessible.
11- Create a nice environment.
Music, colours, flowers, quotes..etc there are limitless options to keep your environment cheerful, find the ways that suit you. I get myself flowers at home and at work on weekly basis. They remind me that I am alive, that I need light and air and that I must drink water regularly. Moreover, they boost my positive energy.
12- Pamper yourself.
Reward yourself for being productive. Celebrate your progress and forgive yourself for the ‘didn’t do list’. Then stay determined to achieve more during the coming weeks.
For further readings about being productive and mastering your time, I recommend two life changing books; ‘First things first’ for Stephen R. Covey and ‘Getting things done’ for David Allen.