“Why do time-management books take so long to read?” Bob asked.
Lindsey thought about it for a moment. “I don’t know. Probably for the same reason the word ‘abbreviate’ is so long”!!!
So, I wanted to write a short email today about time-management and productivity. As you can imagine, it’s harder to do than it looks.
Nonetheless, here are some tips on how to get more done by working less.
1. Use a calendar not a to-do list
To-do lists don’t work for one simple reason: everything on the list takes up the same amount of space.
If “pick up dry-cleaning” takes up the same amount of space as “submit book to publisher”, you’ve either got your priorities or you own far better clothes than I do.
Use a calendar instead. Schedule everything. Put it all in there. You’re still making a to-do list. You’re just less likely to fool yourself about how important things are and how much time they may take.
2. Say ‘no’ more often
Seriously, this nodding to every request has to stop. How many times have you found yourself agreeing to make 30 cupcakes for a school event when you barely even have time to write an email to your own customers?
Start exercising some control over your workflow by not taking on more than you should. Don’t feel pressured into doing something that you honestly know you don’t have time to do.
You don’t need to apologize. You don’t need to justify or explain.
“No, I’m sorry, I won’t be able to” is a perfectly valid answer.
3. Be excellent at the things you do
Your Dad was right when he said, “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?”
4. Hustle isn’t the way
“Get **** done!” “Sleep is for wimps.”
“I ain’t got time for that. I’m working on my goals!”
Hardly a day goes by when I don’t see someone bragging about their work ethic. Or worse, hiring a film crew to follow them around NYC every day as they type on their phones and talk about how hard they work.
There’s nothing wrong with being focused, determined or even obsessed with reaching your goals. But, 18-hour days, all work, no recreation and no family time is a good recipe for a divorce or a serious phone call from your doctor…..(padded room anyone??????)
Hustle comes from (and creates) anxiety:
worry that you’re not enough, worry that you don’t have time, worry that you need to outrun the other guy….
WORRY WORRY WORRY
Making business decisions when you’re anxious is like grocery shopping when you’re hungry: you wind up with a lot of what you don’t want.
5. The P.E.D.S. Method
“If I only had two hours to cut down a tree, I’d spend 90 minutes sharpening my axe.”
Abraham Lincoln almost certainly didn’t say that. Then again, he probably didn’t say 90% of the things that people claim he did. But the quote itself is pretty good thinking.
Rather than rush around, madly doing whatever your eyes land on…take the time to actually decide what is important to get done and how it should get done.
This takes about 15 minutes and will save you a TON of stress and anxiety.
It’s called the P.E.D.S. method.
It was invented by an Italian mathematician who was trying to figure out how to cross all the bridges in Venice without crossing the same one twice. In the process of that experiment, he also discovered an amazing 4-step process for getting more done.
PLAN: decide what needs to get done and what doesn’t. Get lean. Get aerodynamic.
ELIMINATE: Not everything you think you need to do in your business actually needs to be done. Stop and consciously ask, “Does this get me closer to my goal, yes or no?” If the answer is ‘no’, be aggressive in getting rid of those things. Or, at the very least…
DELEGATE: You don’t have to do it all yourself. Get someone to help you. Teach your kids to do something in your business and pay them. Hire an assistant. There’s never been a time when it was easier to hire someone to help you do stuff that you don’t want to do.
SCHEDULE: Once you know what you actually need to do, put it on your calendar.
Remember: to-do lists don’t work. If they did, you’d have gotten more done by now. Unless you’re not writing anything down at all. (That’s a whole other problem we can’t get into here…)
And if you’re stressed, anxious,worried, overloaded and disorganized….it’s going to show up in your business.
So, take care of you.