How To Double Your Productivity In Only Two Days
Do you want to be organized and more productive, but don’t know where to start? It’s no secret that large organizations have whole departments, dedicated to optimizing the efficiency of their processes. Individuals and small businesses all have great ideas, but find it hard to get these ideas through the end. Productivity is the bridge between good ideas and actual success, so you may as well start with yourself! Here is a good technique to get you started.
When you are focused on the important things, you will become more productive and find you are doing a lot more work in a lot less time. And the best part is that instead of feeling tired from the work you have done, you will feel more confident, active and satisfied. So here is a quick and easy suggestion that will reward you with instant benefits.
Organizations waste a surprising amount of time doing unproductive things, which affects their profitability. A well-known business technique for improving efficiency is to conduct a “time management” study. You can do this for yourself by writing down precisely how you spend your time. Here is my own experience.
I wanted to find out what was the one thing that could most improve my productivity.
I decided to write down how I spent my time. To do this, I used the free “Calendar” application in Google and for my own convenience I divided each day into three periods – morning (8:00 to 12:00), afternoon (12:00 to 18:00) and night (18:00 to 00:00).
In the Calendar application each day is divided into thirty minute intervals. For two days I recorded and saved online what I had been doing every thirty minutes.
I expected this to be tedious and confusing, but in fact it did not take much time or effort. Although the days were graduated in thirty minute intervals, that did not mean I stopped work every thirty minutes to write down what I was doing. For example, I worked on one task continuously throughout an afternoon, and afterwards I recorded that it took me two and a half hours. In other words, I was recording my activities to the nearest half hour.
As another example, on Monday morning I had a meeting at 9.00. It lasted three hours, and during that time I had no opportunity to think about anything except the meeting. This meant that for three hours I did not record anything. After the meeting, my first action was to update my calendar.
After two days I reviewed my recorded activities.
The results were unexpected and very interesting.
Remember that until this point I had never thought about where my time went or what I was really doing during the day.
I thought I was spending hours doing various work-related tasks. Instead, I found out that only 40% of my time was actually spent doing those tasks. The other 60% was talking on the phone, checking my email, catching up with friends on Facebook, chatting on Skype, and surfing aimlessly on the Internet.
If someone asks you “What have you done today?”, are you going to say “Well, I talked on the phone and I checked my email”? Of course not! You would probably say you were working on such-and-such a project, you’d done this and you’d done that, etc, etc. However, if you had kept a calendar, you would have found that your true work activity was only a small part of your day!
Of course, the true work/non-work time balance will be different for each individual. The importance of doing this two day “time management” study is to make you realize how much of your time is wasted on unproductive activity. You can benefit from this knowledge a lot more than you think!
Firstly I understood something in greater depth than before. Namely that you cannot have power over something if you don’t know what it is.
Here is an example of what that last sentence means. If you want to improve your finances, the first thing you should do is find out how you are spending your money. Only when you have this knowledge can you exercise the power to decide whether to buy something or not.
The same thing happens with time management. Once I realized I was spending three hours a day checking my email and two hours a day on Skype and Facebook, it was easy for me to decide not to do these things. That meant I had an extra five hours a day available for doing genuine productive work.
In addition, I discovered another benefit. I realized that my mornings were more productive than my afternoons. By dividing the day into three parts, I realized that most of my non-productive activities were in the afternoon. Therefore, I decided to postpone my Skyping and Facebook time until the evenings after work. Overall, I believe that anyone can do a time management exercise and reach many useful conclusions about themselves.
After two days of recording my activity and a simple analysis of the results, I made the following minor adjustments:
• I shut down Skype during the day (unless I really needed it for a business call).
• I checked my email once an hour instead of all the time.
• I only read my favorite websites at the very beginning and end of the workday.
• I moved all other activities that were not contributing to my business goals to the evening.
As you can see, I did not stop doing anything I did before. Instead, I either moved those unproductive activities to other times of the day, or I strictly regulated how long they took. As a result, by the third day of keeping my calendar, I had doubled my productive time, while still doing the things I like.
To conclude, the answer is if you don’t open that website, if you don’t go onto Skype, if you stop reading the same emails, if you stop chatting pointlessly with friends or colleagues, then you can focus on being more productive. This can make all the difference between finding time for that new project or idea of yours or not. Your productivity can be the difference between failure or success. Which one do you choose?
Ashton Aiden is a life coach, passionate about helping people reach their goals and experience success in all areas of life. His expertise spreads over a wide range of fields, including manifestation, goal setting, nutrition, power breathing, brainwave entrainment, and more. He is dedicated to sharing his best knowledge and tools on his blog at Brainwavelove.com.