The ability to get more achieved - learn how to control your time, not just manage it. This is what this episode will focus on, or put bluntly, it’s about Getting Shit Done!
The two ways to get more done – manage time and 100% focus – means stopping procrastination
So how do you get started? Implement the ‘time management loop’!
To do this, organise your time by chunking up your day into blocks. This helps to set limits on how long you have to finish something, helping to reduce the overall time spent on the task. A book called Deep Work explores flow and productivity that recommends exactly this. Having chunks of time set for one task and one task only leads to much more being produced.
But focusing on the important tasks should be your priority. There is no point in chunking your time to spend on tasks that make you feel busy but achieve little.
What is a high-value activity? It is simply something that will move you towards your goals more so than any other activity.
To determine what is of the highest value, you need to align these tasks with your goals and priorities. It helps to focus on outcomes more so than the individual tasks. So, ask yourself ‘what must be done now to get to my end goal?’. Becoming goal orientated when deciding on what to spend your time on will give you the clear focus you need to become as productive as possible.
But what happens to other tasks that you don’t get around to? There is a concept called comparative advantage. This works in economic terms where if one country can produce something at a lower cost (or better) than another, it should do this task and then trade for the other goods it foregoes producing. We can do this as individuals through outsourcing by getting someone else to do what you aren’t great at or don’t enjoy doing.
To help with this, try to complete an ‘Activity Audit’. List what your weekly tasks include and
what takes most time each week. This helps to determine how you spend your time and on what. Then you can potentially look at what can be outsourced and what can you only do to increase your income or free time.
Say your goals is to start a side business, then you need to focus on the tasks that will achieve this. So, if there is the option between watching TV or working on setting up the business (website, registering, marketing) then the choice should be clear. However, there are some things that you cannot outsource such as spending time with family or friends. Sure, you could hire someone to take your partner out to dinner but you get little enjoyment from this.
Focusing on your highest priority tasks helps to redefine time so you can control how it is spent and is the basis of the 80/20 rule.
Minimising interruptions is between external interruption and also then ones you create through multi-tasking. Just focus on one thing at a time, don’t let things distract you from your priority.
Trying to perform too many things at once is the best way to reduce your overall productivity. This usually comes in the form of switching from one task to another without completing the first task. We’ve all been right in the middle of focused work when an urgent task demands our attention; this is one of the most frustrating kinds of multitasking, and often the hardest to avoid. It almost doesn’t seem like multitasking at all, but our minds need time to change gears in order to work efficiently.
This then leads to taking longer to complete all of your tasks and makes you more prone to errors. If the tasks are complex then these time and error penalties increase further.
Each task switch might waste only 1/10th of a second, but if you do a lot of switching in a day it can add up to a loss of 40% of your productivity.
Also, removing unimportant decisions from your life will reduce Decision fatigue.
Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is estimated that average amount of remotely conscious decisions an adult makes each day equals about 35,000. I find that hard to believe and there is no way to accurately measure, but even if it is 10%, then that is still 3,500 a day!
The less you have to think, the more brain power you will be left with. Most people spend more time thinking about what to eat for dinner than their goals so by the time it comes to do something of value they are already depleted. You have a finite amount of brain power, so use it on important things.
To keep this loop going, you need to make a habit around this. It takes 30 days to create a habit, but good habits make your life easier. With good habits in place you don’t have to make as many hard decisions, thus you are less likely to make unproductive ones such as talking yourself out of doing what you had planned.
Jocko Willink, a former navy seal who wrote the book Extreme Ownership has a great saying; Discipline equals Freedom. It is true, the more disciplined you are with this will give you more freedom of time in life!
Want to hear more like this – eps on procrastinating, if you are newer – Archive eps – from an older podcast I did – steps to success series contains much more
But for now, go and control your time!
Have a good one
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