If we want to do more, we need to find more resources and typically these include time and productivity. We must find more time in our days and weeks and get more out of each day. Or so it’d seem. Lack of time is one of the top ‘reasons’ (excuses) for people not chasing their goals.
The good news is that there’s a way to find more time which is almost guaranteed to produce massive amounts and increase your productivity.
I called it the ‘decluttering’ technique. It’s incredibly simple – as always, apply your common sense and read the following in the context of your own situation. Take what’s relevant and discard what isn’t.
Look at what you spend time on and ask yourself these questions:
- Projects: Is this task, or project really required? Fast-forward to the completion of it, what would completing the project cause? What would the impact be?
- Tasks: Do I need to be doing this or can it be delegated without losing its effectiveness? Get off your own ego here. It’s tempting to think that only we can do something to high standards but I can assure you that this is very often untrue.
- Unimportant stuff from the high-productivity time slots: How important is this on a scale of 1-5 (5 = important)? The morning is, almost for everyone, a time when we naturally get more done; it is where most humans naturally perform best. Anything below 3 should go in the afternoon.
- Invites to meetings: Do I need to be in this meeting? When invited to meetings, ask:
- What is the outcome of the meeting?
- What questions are we trying to answer?
- This will at worst shorten the length of the meeting and at best make the meeting no needed at all.
- Meetings you organise: Do I need to arrange this meeting? Can it be done via Slack/Email? Sometimes meetings are required and very useful. Sometimes they aren’t. Understanding the difference will save tons of time – and money.
- Emails: Do I live in my inbox? Kill emails, they are not your to do list. If you don’t kill them, they will kill productivity and suck all your time. Once or twice per day is more than enough to check, and once per day is more than enough to reply. There are exceptions of course, depending on your profession. But the vast (vast vast) majority of people don’t need to check their emails more often than that… at most.
- Social Media: Kill social media. Except for posting and for scheduled use.
- Interruptions: Have at least 60 minutes, 90 is better, at least once daily, twice is better, of uninterrupted work where all social media, emails, calls or any other notification. During this time work on your most important projects.
- Lack of good sleep-induced tiredness: Do I sleep well? If not why not (alcohol, late-night use of devices, health etc)? Pinpointing the route cause is half of the battle won.
- Going to bed late: If I go to bed too late, why do I?
- Junk TV: Do I need to watch TV? If so, do I need to watch this much? I find that reading, reflecting, playing board games or talking, produce much more clarity, freshness, energy and make me more productive.
- Waking up too late: Can I wake up earlier? Watch out for a post about why I wake up at 4:45am 6 days/wk – life-altering – coming soon.
- Snoozing: If we wake up snoozing, that’s exactly how we’re likely to live the rest of the day. The alarm goes off, start counting back from 5 and be up before zero.
- Gossip: Do I gossip? Do I listen to gossips? Stop both. How is this related to time? There are many negative effects of gossiping and negative thinking, from the most obvious such as it takes time from us that we could use to ask ourselves “how can I [YOUR GOALS]” to cultivating a psychology of ‘can’t’ instead of a mentality of ‘can and will’.
- Sedentarism: Do I exercise? A walk does count. Anything that is psychically (and preferably mentally) challenging to you is good – don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself of today with yourself from yesterday and work to beat that person, not others. Exercising might not directly give you more time but will produce other effects that will make you use your time a lot better – which I take as time gain. A few benefits include:
- Higher concentration
- Faster processing ability of the brain
- Acceleration of learning capacity
- Increased energy levels
- Elevated optimism
- Better sleep
- Due to increased production of melatonin
- Release of human growth hormone, promoting longevity
- Slows down ageing
- Junk diet: Do I eat well? Good nutrition is important. You know what to do! Greens, little sugar, moderation with alcohol etc. Feeling heavy leads to lethargy. Hard to make time for much when we feel like that.
This is the beginning, there are more ‘advanced’ strategies, such as waking up earlier and mastering the art of planing (this is a massive time saver) but these are for another video. Perhaps later this week.
The decluttering technique is the starting point, the most basic way to find the time we think we don’t have.
Good luck and as always, I’d love to hear your tips, experiences or thoughts on this. ❤️