If you often get that nagging feeling that there aren’t enough hours in a day, don’t worry, you are not alone. Everyone feels that way from one time to another. It sometimes feels like no matter how fast you run, how much you try, you just can’t get everything done that you need to do. And all those apps and gadgets that are supposed to save the day? We believe we readily incorporate technology into our lives to help us achieve more and make our life easier, but is that really what happens? Does that technology help us master our To-Do list, or does it become just one more burden to sling over our shoulders as we wade knee-deep (against the current) through the river of time?
So there must be a better way right? There must be some way to become more efficient in handling our day-to-day tasks. There must be some way to take back control.
Well, I’ve been grappling with this for quite some time, and I’ve come up with a couple some things that work for me. And I would like to share them with you…
Here are 3 steps you can take right now to add more time and efficiency to your day.
1. Be mindful of the energy you bring to this world
Energy is our main resource in life. We can achieve a lot more in 1 hour if we are in the right state and with the right energy than when we feel down and drained. The first step is to be mindful of your energy at all times. Think of it the same way you think of the little fuel indicator on your car’s dashboard. Do you feel exhausted, tired, unfocused and unmotivated? The good news is that unlike Time that is limited to 24 hours in a day, our energy can expand; and we have full control over this. When your energy expands, it feels like you have a lot more time in your day.
We have 4 interconnected energy sources in our life. You need to be mindful of each of them and practice on a daily basis to keep your energy high. Remember that motivation is like taking shower, you can’t take a shower once and expect to be clean for the rest of your life! It’s a daily practice and commitment to stay at your highest state.
Our 4 sources of energy are: Physical, Social, Mental and Spiritual. I promise to write a full blog post on how to increase your energy. For now, just be mindful of events, activities, conversations that raise your energy and those that drain your energy. Remember that the first step toward change is Awareness.
This illustration shows you how your time can expand when you are at a higher energy level. You feel you achieve a lot more when you are at your best state during the day and your performance increases.
You don’t have to be Busy all the time in order to achieve more in your day. That is an illusion. Add recovery time and free time to reflect on what you have finished and your upcoming tasks. Recover and renew your energy to achieve maximum efficiency in your day.
2. Make the most of your Time
Unlike energy, our time is limited; we all have only 24 hours in our day. It is important to use our time efficiently during the day. I personally love Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix from his book: “7 habits of highly effective people” which is on my recommended reads list.
Stephen Covey divides all of our daily tasks into 4 quadrants illustrated in the table below:
Most people spend their time dealing with Urgent activities whether they are important or not. We are constantly being bombarded with text messages, emails, telephone, notifications and more. It’s very common to suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) when we don’t check our social media channels for a couple of hours, thinking that something important is happening which we are going to miss out. Life has become like an endless treadmill and people are just running faster and faster on it to catch-up with on-going tasks and demands.
I invite you to write all of your activities for the next 10 days in each of the quadrants and see what percentage of your time is spent dealing with tasks that are not important and do not get you closer to your goals.
3. Learn how to set goals correctly
The last skill to learn in order to achieve more in your day is the art of Goal Setting
Goal setting is a learnable skill. There are a few tips that you can use to make sure that your goal becomes a reality:
Make sure that your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.See the end result first and then plan it backward. E.g. if the goal takes 6 months to complete, define your completion date, and then specify your monthly milestones and daily tasks.Write “When” and “Where” you will work on your goal every day. If you don’t schedule it, it’s less likely that it will happenSay “No” and be proud of it – don’t dilute the effort you are putting on your goal by taking on tasks that are not in line with that goalVisualize your end result for a couple of minutes every day.Be persistent, do not stop until you are proud.Celebrate when the task is finished.Once you start following the steps above, being mindful of your energy, how you use your time, and work towards your goals, you will see an immediate result.
You will start to feel like your days become less hectic, you start to achieve more and you will feel more accomplished at the end of each day. By mastering these steps, you will be well on your way to achieving peak performance.
What is your formula for success to achieve more in your day?