We often hear, I don’t have the time, I don’t have enough time, there aren’t enough hours in a day … Yet there are twenty-four hours in a day; if we take eight to sleep, three to eat, one to wash and take care of our body and eight to work, there are still four left!
Do you know where your time goes? If you take inventory for few days of what you do in a day, in addition to your tasks directly related to your work, like time on emails and social media, in the car, in front of the TV, social activities, exercise, etc., you’ll be surprised to realize that there are some hours you can recover …
In addition to tasks and activities, be aware of behaviours, habits and attitudes that take up your time; you’ll realize that there are several hours spent moving air, stressing, procrastinating, listening to your self-sabotaging voice, trying to please one and the other without really pleasing anybody, getting lost in details of little impact or importance, etc.
These are the vampires; in addition to feeding on time, they also feed on our energy and keep us stuck in inaction. They include distractions, especially those of the digital age, the inability to say no, confusion, indecision, fears, thoughts and beliefs, repressed or replayed emotional states.
How do you defeat these vampires? Not with garlic cloves but with a good dose of effectiveness.
1) Know your WHY (why you want more time) : Is it to have more time for your hobbies, to complete a project, to realize a dream, to develop your business, to spend time with your children or friends? If you know why you want more time or why you want to be more efficient, you’ll be more motivated to be productive.
2) Manage your ENERGY. Energy is defined in science, as the ability of a system to produce work, resulting in movement or producing light, heat or electricity. This can be very well applied to human beings.
• When it comes to a pattern, behaviour, emotion or thought that is not helpful: A -acknowledge it B – step back, C – reframe, D – breathe and E – repeat the process each time it shows up until it’s dispelled.
• Regular practice of meditation, breathing, yoga, centering exercises. By doing a regular practice, it can be called on at any time and the ability to refocus becomes second nature after a while.
• Healthy eating. By eating well, energy is not drained by digestion and can be channeled elsewhere.
• Physical exercise. Nothing better for stress management, motivation and concentration!
• DO what you LOVE. And if you can’t do what you love, love what you do! When we love what we do, we have energy to spare.
3) Put in place ACTIONS that fuel efficiency. Here are a few:
• Create a vision, intentions and specific goals.
• Eliminate or delegate. We know that according to Pareto’s law, 20% of the efforts give 80% of the results, 20% of the customers give 80% of the income, in agriculture 20% of the seeds give 80% of the harvests. Focus on the 20%, eliminate the rest. Delegate what you like the least in the remaining 20%.
• Create a plan with a schedule. According to Parkinson’s law, the more time you give yourself to do a task, the longer it takes to do it. Split big projects into small tasks and give yourself short completion times. Create a momentum and stay in action. Give yourself deadlines and block the time in your agenda.
• Automate/systematize. Automate repetitive tasks, develop standard templates and customize as needed. Create procedures to prevent from feeling overwhelmed, to reassure customers/employees/bosses/co-workers, to set boundaries in a way that limits things to be taken personal.
• Say NO.
• Make decisions: indecision consumes energy and time. There are no bad decisions, there is only learning. And we don’t learn much in paralysis. How to make the best decisions possible besides measuring the pros and cons? Measure the impact and consequences of making the decision and not making the decision. Take into consideration what your intuition says as well as what your head says, Check alignment with your short-term and long-term goals.
As far as we’re concerned, vampires can return to their old legends!