How do you find the time to achieve everything you want to achieve? Suppose you suddenly were given the gift of two extra weeks each year to do anything you wanted. What would you want to accomplish during this time? Would you increase your efforts on an existing project? Start something new? Or use it as restorative personal time?
This “gift” can easily be a part of everyone’s reality. Eliminating just 15 minutes each day adds up to 91 extra hours a year—more than two full work weeks. Here are some simple ways to achieve the “miracle.”
• Separate efficiency and effectiveness. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Management expert Peter Drucker defines efficiency as doing things right, while effectiveness means doing the right things.
There is no point in performing an action well, when it shouldn’t be done at all. You’ve probably heard someone say, “I don’t have time to get organized” or “I don’t have time to do it correctly right now, but I’ll come back later and fix it”—as if the future holds limitless time to undo and redo something done poorly. Make the hard decisions about what you want and need to do. Then do them, and do them right.
• Underbook. Your calendar is probably already full as you still try to squeeze in everything you need and hope to do. As hard as it may seem, don’t overbook. Be realistic. Underbooking will actually allow you to achieve more.
• Block-book for big projects. Some projects can’t be picked up and put down easily. Block-book your high-priority items.
• Multitask. Combining or piggybacking tasks makes you more efficient. While you’re holding on the phone, sign letters or checks or mark magazine articles you want to read later. In small buildings, don’t wait for elevators, take the stairs. It’s good exercise, and you’ll get there sooner. Have a meditation break instead of a coffee break. Listen to motivational tapes or CDs while commuting or traveling. When you plan to meet someone, select a place where you can accomplish something while you’re waiting.