You can be more productive
Very few of us have the luxury of undertaking study or other commitments, like launching a business, in isolation of all the other things that take up our time. Generally you will be trying to complete these types of ‘projects’, alongside other work commitments and very often, whilst balancing your social and family life too.
“How do I manage my time better?”; is one of the things I am asked about most often, by students and people trying to launch and grow a business. I think it is a question being asked by all sorts of people, right around the world.
With that said, here is my first piece of advice; don’t beat yourself up about not managing your time well. That is a waste of time. Instead, do some research and teach yourself about how other people manage their time as a way of finding a way that will work for you. No matter how busy you are, I can guarantee you I can find you someone who is equally as busy, if not busier, who is managing their time more effectively. Which means you can do it too.
What works for you might be quite different to what works for me, but I have recently started managing my time, by blocking time out for tasks and I have seen an immediate increase in my productivity, although I was skeptical to begin with.
The theory is not new and is loosely based on Parkinson’s theory that work will expand to fill the time we have available. When I read that, I could immediately relate and started researching the theory further. I was inspired to try it after reading this post by Cal Newport from the Study Hacks Blog. Whilst I could immediately see the merit of an approach that required me to ‘plan every minute of my working day’, I was concerned that such a plan would not allow me time for ‘reactive work’ (in my case answering emails and taking phone calls) and ‘creative work’. However, what I have experienced so far is that planning every minute actually does what Cal says it will;
“If you control your schedule: (1) you can ensure that you consistently dedicate time to the deep efforts that matter for creative pursuits; and (2) the stress relief that comes from this sense of organization allows you to go deeper in your creative blocks and produce more value.”
To fully understand how to integrate time blocking into your life, I recommend that you also read ‘Time Blocking – The Secret Weapon for Better Focus’, by Rob Nightingale. This blog post give you even more practical tips for how to time block and plan your day out. My suggestion is that you commit to the theory for a month and then evaluate if it worked for you.
I would love to hear from you if you do give this theory a trial so please email me with any comments or questions you have about time blocking.