In this day and age, where meeting planners have so much competing for their time and attention, occasionally it’s vital to rethink our routines. The result can be more effective ways to spend our time.
Here are eight suggestions that may help you alter your routine and use your time more wisely.
1. Get up an hour earlier
Once upon a time, the concept of late-night news (11 p.m.) was unknown. People went to bed at 9:30 or 10. Once they began staying up for the news, the networks began running late-night talk shows. Now almost everyone stays up later than before.
Why not go to bed earlier and wake up an hour earlier? If not, just try getting up an hour earlier on occasion. You won’t miss the sleep that much. In that extra hour, you can watch the sunrise, meditate, do some exercises or go to work before traffic gets bad. These activities can affect your whole perspective on the day.
2. Change venues
Work on your porch instead of in your home office. When you change the scenery you open new vistas. Do this for some of your tasks (especially those that require conceptualization or creative thinking), and you’ll be more productive than ever.
3. Delay your mail
We tend to put an immediacy on things that often don’t warrant it. If possible, delay getting your mail until the end of the week. If not, postpone tearing through everything and only place attention on what’s urgent. Most things aren’t.
4. Go natural
Work under a tree or at a pool. Being near nature opens a way of seeing things you don’t get in an office. You also get peace of mind.
5. Be productive
Drop the unproductive 80 percent of your activities. The Pareto Principle (the “80/20” rule) states that 80 percent of your activities contribute to only 20 percent of your results. The remaining 20 percent contributes to the other 80 percent. Take a hardware store, for example. About 20 percent of its stock accounts for 80 percent of its revenues. The other 80 percent of stock accounts for just 20 percent of revenues.
The key to successful retailing is identifying that golden 20 percent. A smart store manager puts it where it’s most accessible. While reachable, the rest is put out of the immediate way. As a career-conscious person, you should identify what activities in your work (and personal life) support you and bring you the most results. Be strong enough to abandon the unproductive 80 percent.
6. Schedule brainstorming sessions
Brainstorming is a great process. You can brainstorm by yourself, or, preferably, with others. Have you ever gone to lunch with a colleague and discussed how to approach a work issue? You likely come up with all sorts of great ideas. The danger is in forgetting them when you’re back at your desk. If you consciously schedule a meeting solely to brainstorm, you’ll grab control of your time and your productivity.
7. Use humor more often and laugh at yourself
When you go through your workday without humor, the day tends to be long and difficult. Part of taking control of your life is being able to step back and look at the big picture, to see the humorous, lighter side of things. You needn’t be unwaveringly serious to appear professional. Humor gives you a break in the action, makes things less tense and puts you back in control.
8. Work in your car
In an urban area especially, your car can be your life-support system. Don’t work while driving, of course, but you might get stuck in traffic or in a snowstorm, or arrive at a meeting 30 minutes early. Being able to work in your car will make you more productive and give you greater control over your time.
What do you think of these ideas? Will they work for you? What do you do to stay productive and on-task? Please add your thoughts in the comment box below.