Have you ever said to yourself, “I wish I had 2 more hours every day to get my tasks completed.” And deep within you know that even if you had those 2 extra hours chances are you will still struggle to manage your time. There just seems to be too much to do in any given day, or is there?
You have probably gone to a training program on time management or read books on leadership and management that talk about the important of managing time and the mechanics of time management. And you probably have half a dozen apps on your phone that promise to be “productivity enhancers”, that you now find are another task to manage.
In my view time management is actually about creating time. Yes, you head that right – it is about you creating time for yourself, so that you can spend time on what really matters to you – your career, your business, your family, yourself… So how do you create time?
Hack # 1 – Do a time audit
Time wasters creep up into our daily lives without us even knowing about it. You may not be aware of how much time you are wasting in your day. Try this simple tool. Capture as many of your daily activities as you possibly can for a week, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Keep this sheet of paper and a pen with you at all times. Also capture the sleep you got that day.
Then total up for each day how much time you spend on activities that are non-value added (low to medium value in your chart). Remember sleep (less than 8 hours) is value added.
Hack # 2 – Get rid of the NVA (non-value added)
Studies show that employees at work could be wasting up to 35% of their daily working hours in completely unnecessary activities. That is a whopping 3 hours a day. This time is being spent on the usual suspects – Facebook, LinkedIn (and other social media), surfing the web, WhatsApp, discussing sports, gossiping with co-workers, online shopping, and even job searching!
Can you imagine what this adds up to across the entire working population? And it doesn’t stop there. At home there are even more time wasters. TV is probably the biggest and with the proliferation of online content (YouTube, Netflix, and the like). Our obsession with social media continues at home, with the need to improve one’s image online to be able to get “liked”.
Now not all of this is NVA. Building your network on LinkedIn helps you connect with a potential future employer or with your customers, but randomly reading all posts, liking and commenting on them with no clear objective is a big NVA. Connecting with family and friends on Facebook is great but spending more than 15 minutes in a day is getting into NVA territory.
So if you are prone to any or all of the above, you need to sit up and pay attention. Imagine having 5 to 6 extra hours each day to be able to do the things you have wanted to do but “not had the time” to do. That could be 30 minutes a day of quality time spent with your kids. That could be 30 minutes exercising. That could be another 30 minutes meditating. Or just getting an extra hour of restful sleep.
Hack # 3 – Have a morning routine
A great way to manage your time is to manage your first hour of the day. How you start your day pretty much determines the rest of the day for you. How you wake up is also very important. If your phone is the first thing you touch and look at in the morning, then all what you do that day will be determined by that phone and what’s in it.
Some best practices –
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”
– Stephen R. Covey