As demand increases for higher levels of output in the workplace in the same amount of hours, the degree to which those hours are effective depends upon how well we can manage and channel our mental energy.
Productivity is actually less about time management and more about the concept of mind management.
Tesla founder, Elon Musk is a powerhouse of innovation and naturally productive. Often telling the media that he regularly puts in 100 hours per week, he is a prime example of deriving great achievements in productivity for his business by applying basic principles that serve to enhance time management.
Musk is a strong proponent of first principles thinking, which suggests that instead of trying to remember lists of facts, one should try to understand the most basic principles behind the topic. Musk says its saves time on ‘getting up to speed’ and offers a wider view of what’s possible and what isn’t.
“Take it down to the physics,” Musk states when faced with something that can’t be done. These words form a solid foundation for the practices that will help you manage the precious resource of time.
Mind over time
Musk’s tips lay a powerful foundation for time management skills; once you develop a mindset geared for time management success, you have won most of the battle. By clearing your mind of the clutter of worry, fear or apprehension, your path is clear to focus on goals. Fear creates procrastination and that is the key killer of productivity.
Effective leaders are focused on maximising every work moment they have. Strategy is key when setting up priorities for each day as a goal. Monitoring these results will help determine when they need to realign the strategy to get back on track.
Calendars are essential tools to allow the consolidation of personal and professional activities in blocked time. By clearly blocking time into 30-minute increments for the entire day, real available time can be clarified. It also allows for flexibility and prevents double-booking or missed events.
Always review daily priorities and devote urgency to tasks that take the least amount of time, so you can fast track your urgent list. Do not waste time churning through emails. Schedule specific times in the day to respond to email and do not attend to it unless required.
Focus on goals
The digital age is playing havoc with attention spans. An entire generation has been brought up with limited ability to deeply focus. These are skills that need to be honed, as the ability to focus attention is crucial for achieving goals. As the average attention span is 20 minutes, brevity and planning is key. To stay focused, complete critical tasks while the mind is sharp, usually early in the day. You will achieve more and attain a sense of satisfaction that you have cleared the decks.
Boundaries are good
Ask yourself, is the task you are doing your priority or someone else’s? If it’s not yours, set boundaries and feel comfortable saying ‘no.’ Highly effective leaders tune out distractions and block out time to work on high priority projects. By not taking your own time for granted, you set a good example to colleagues and create a solid discipline.
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