Sometimes I find myself doing a task that is taking way more time than I thought it would. With unrelenting dedication, I usually plod through it. Not anymore. I will now ask myself, “ Is this the best use of my time?”
If I can’t say yes, then I will change what I’m doing. Here are some time savers that I learned from surfing the internet on my free time, (was that the best use of my time? Uh no, but it was fun and hopefully informative for readers).
1. Set high expectations for every day.
Before starting work, establish your priorities and the order which you will do them. It is best if you can have quiet time to start the day for this. It also helps to write it down. Monday is a good day to establish your goals for the week, on one page.
When prioritizing, keep at the top of the list the things that generate income or were assigned by your bosses.
Put away stuff that you are not working on, so your desk is uncluttered. It’s less distracting. Only work on one thing at a time.
Divide seemingly overwhelming tasks into small increments and attack them one at a time.
Purge files annually, and make a pending file of papers that need attention soon. Also create a future file, with dates for papers that need to be handled at a certain time.
Ask, what can others do for you? If you delegate, the best thing to do is hand it over to them with clear instructions of desired results. Then, let it go, don’t micro-manage or it will take too much of your time.
When possible write down the instructions for them, it will reduce interruptions.
Often, the majority of people in meetings don’t really need to be there. Maybe you don’t either. You can ask the meeting organizer, (unless it’s you), whether you can submit a report or just attend for a segment of the meeting.
5. Speed reading
This is another one that I plan to work on. Being able to read through stuff fast is definitely a time saver. There is speed reading software available, even your Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Dynamics. Here are things I've read while surfing the internet: "don't subvocalize," the words, just think about the meaning of phrases and "keep moving," don't ponder. Also consider whether it's important to you now, later or never. If it's an email, I scroll down to see how long it is and to get the gist of what it's about.
6. Email and other correspondence
It’s always nice to see what has come into your inbox, but it doesn't need to be the focus of your day, unless it’s from your boss or best client. Scan your inbox, and see if anything needs urgent attention. If you haven't already done so, make folders organizing by subjects or status level and file emails to the folders. You don't need to process emails, first thing in the morning — your most critical time of day.
7. At home
Plan your outfit the night before and prepare your lunch. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Plan what you are going to do personally for your next weekend, on Sunday night. Then maybe you won’t think about work when you go to bed.
Write down your personal and professional goals for five years and review them every now and then.
I wrote down some goals, approximately 10 years ago, and then lost the note in my desk. Although I’m not sure what date I wrote the goals, I had accomplished two of the three in about five years. So maybe it really works. It sure didn’t hurt.
If you have any time saving ideas, please share them. Work is more rewarding when you feel like you’re accomplishing things.