In today’s high-pressured working environment, the feeling that we’re overloaded and that there aren’t enough hours in the week is increasingly common. Below are a few simple ideas to help you stay in control of your time at work, and to free up some of your valuable hours at home.
Tired of that early morning rush to get ready and off to work? It’s not really surprising – there’s a lot to get done and not much time to do it. Make some small changes to your schedule and that feeling of pressure will simply melt away. The key is to take a few moments of calm to plan and organize.
Hunting for clothes each morning and trying to decide what to wear – you’re wasting those precious early morning minutes. Instead, plan and, on Sunday, assemble an outfit for each day of the following week, including your underwear and accessories. Then, each morning, you simply have to grab the hangar for that day, and you’re dressed in no time.
Same with breakfasts or packed lunches place the ingredients for each day of the week in an airtight plastic box – no more hunting through the fridge for what you need to make your smoothie.
Does it take too long to put your make-up on perfectly? How much time do you spend rifling through your make-up bag to find the items you need? Create a ‘morning’ bag, containing only the items you use each day.
Taking another look at your early morning routine and making small changes can help get rid of that ‘time-squeezed’ feeling and ensure you arrive at work calm and ready for business.
Ditch the Trolley
On the subject of getting organized at home, to help you enjoy your free time more, consider how much time you spend shopping each week. Not enjoyable, relaxing, and fun shopping for things you like. The dull routine stuff: driving to the market, replacing stuff you’ve run out of, loading and unloading your trolley, queueing at the checkout.
How many hours could you free up if you spent a short time planning what you’re going to need in the coming week, and having it delivered to your door? Making online bulk grocery shopping part of your routine to avoid spending hours on boring and unwanted shopping trips.
Step by step towards your goals
Once at work, it’s easy to find that your time isn’t your own. So many tasks and people will be competing for your attention. The secret weapon used by many successful time-managers is low-tech, low-cost, and ultra-fast to use. It’s the humble ‘To-do’ list.
While there are lots of organizer apps and programs to help you plan, nothing beats the immediacy of noting down each task as it arises. Crossing off each one as you complete it produces a quick hit of dopamine, which motivates you to keep going.
Allocate a few minutes each day to getting organized and list everything you have to do, no matter how big or trivial it seems. Then, when you find you’re ‘stuck’ on a major project, you can keep working on your goals, cross a couple of ‘quick wins’ off your list, and maintain that sense of progress.
If your day is packed with back-to-back meetings, it’s no surprise that you’ll end up feeling frazzled and out of control. When are you going to have time for the follow-up that is often required?
There are a few simple ways to rationalize your meeting schedule.
First, when you’re the organizer, put an end to 30 and 60-minute meetings. Schedule them to last 20 and 45 minutes, at most. This will help everyone get down to business immediately and focus on achieving the meeting objectives. It’ll also give attendees chance to arrive at their next meeting in good time.
Also, consider the number of invitees. The more people are there, the longer it takes for everyone to make their contribution. Limit participation to those who are needed to make decisions, and brief other stakeholders later.
Not the organizer? Ensure you understand why your presence is required. Unless you’re a key participant or a decision-maker, do you really need to be there? Could you be briefed on the outcome later, and spend your time more productively?
In conclusion, there are often small changes we can make to our home and work routines which can free up our valuable time and help us to feel more in control. We hope you’ll give a couple of them a try, and that you’ll gain some extra moments to enjoy life more.