Not Enough Time? Here is the One Time Saving Tip You Need To Do!

My guess is that if you are reading this blog, you are suffering from wishing a day was more than 24 hours as you have so much to do you are feeling like you are drowning…sound about right?

The good news is that you are not alone! Over the years I have searched for the silver time management bullet and tried many, many time management techniques to make better use of my time and to feel more efficient. What I have learned is twofold. First there is no silver bullet per se and second, time is a finite resource so while we can’t increase the number of hours in a day, we can increase the rate of return.

One of the best time management books that I have read is “Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen.  My business coach actually introduced me to the book and I have been able to implement many of the tactics in my day to day work.    Allen’s premise is simple:  our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax.  When our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized, we able to achieve effective results and unleash our creative potential.

David Allen’s main tenet is that “your head is for having ideas – not for holding them”. So get your ideas out of your head and make room for increased capacity for doing.   I followed his advice and, I have to say that it was  truly liberating to get everything out of my head and into some type of organized themes.

At first, I created many “to do” lists that kept me focused however, something was missing.  After some deep self-reflection, I realized that being organized and focused was not just about lists, but I needed space that separated my personal time from my work time. Personally, I have no idea why it took me so long to make creating proper office space a priority, but I can tell you that it was super cathartic and fun planning, getting my office furniture moved, buying new plants, purchasing new technology, and finally being able to take my diplomas from the closet and hang them in my office.   But I must say, the best thing I did, and my tip to you, was hanging a 4’ by 6’ white board – my time saving saviour!

Now each morning, I review my calendar and my ‘to do’ lists and make a decision on the three actions that I commit to completing that day.   I write these in large letters in the centre of my whiteboard, so that when I look up from my desk, I see my commitments and priorities.  Like you, I have many things on the go at any given time, however starting this ritual has allowed me to focus my attention and prioritize what is truly important. It grounds my thinking and allows me to be less inclined to shift gears (and be sidetracked by the shining object syndrome). This daily white board activity been quite the revelation and I take incredible joy in crossing off each item as I complete it.

When it is all said and done, at my core, I am a planner. But even with my strong planning tendencies I, like many, still struggle with maximizing my time. A simple yet effective strategy has allowed me to refocus my energy and stay focused on the most impactful tasks of my day.

What’s the ROI on a putting up a 4’ by 6’ whiteboard? Well for me it feels like I have gained more hours in the day and that the finite confines of time have become infinite. My productivity has increased. I feel more motivated, and the best thing is that I can now shut my office door and create separation between my work and home, thereby creating better balance.

Remember “your head is for having ideas – not for holding them”. Write it down, make a plan, hold yourself accountable, don’t succumb to the next shiny object syndrome and make your time work for you.