It always amazes me that people will spend years doing business degrees and courses, but spend almost no time studying how to be more productive.
Yet being super productive is one of the master skills of business.
In a world where anyone senior in business usually has 3 times more work than they can actually do, using your time really well is absolutely crucial.
Time management is actually a hobby of mine. It fascinates me how one person can literally get more done in one month than others do in a year.
So here are 3 time management techniques that I love (and are not commonly known) that can radically increase your productivity, as soon as you start doing them…
The 2-Minute Rule.
Invented by David Allen, one of the most thoughtful productivity gurus and author of the seminal bestseller ‘Getting Things Done, this simple rule works as follows:
Whenever an email or task appears, simply ask yourself this question:
“Can I do this in 2 minutes or less?”
If the answer is Yes, you do it right now. If the answer is No, you resist doing it and put it on your To-Do List for a later time.
The 2 Minute Rule works so well because it quickly gets rid of all the small tasks that can really build up over time, and prevents you from stopping major things you’re working on to handle the latest To Do that pops into your Inbox.
Follow this rule assiduously and your life will almost instantly become calmer and more productive.
Schedule a half day each week to do all your admin.
One of the biggest challenges at work is we keep on switching our thinking styles during the day.
As I see it, there are two basic thinking modes we have during most work days.
The first is Deep Thinking on issues and projects that count. The second is Processing Thinking – doing numerous relatively mindless tasks.
The brain works in very different ways for each of these thinking styles, so it can become quite stressful and ineffective to constantly switch between doing Processing Thinking and Deep Thinking.
One excellent solution is to save all your less important Processing Thinking for a one-half day each week. For example, on Friday morning.
If it’s not important or time-sensitive, literally postpone getting it done until that Friday, and then get all of those type of tasks done at once.
This massively clears up and simplifies your week, and increases 10 X how much-uninterrupted quality thinking time you will have.
Have a strict and early leaving time.
The Human Performance Institute in Florida has conclusively shown that most executives do not work hard enough when at work, but also work too many hours.
You can solve both these issues by setting a clear and relatively early leaving time for each work day and strictly keeping to it.
I can assure you, that absolutely having to leave work earlier will speed up your work rate all day long.
Arguably the most important rule in all of time management is Parkinsons’ Law: ‘Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.’ When are you at your most efficient? The day before you go on vacation! Because you know you must, must, must finish your work by a certain time.
One of the most respected productivity experts is Michael Hyatt. At his highly successful company, he makes sure his staff get their work done at a reasonable hour by programming all the lights in the company to go off at 6 pm!
In summary, these are 3 of the most important productivity systems I teach the executives I mentor on high performance. They work for them and they will work for you too.
Give them a try for a week and you will be astounded at how productive you become.