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By Theresa Michau

It feels as if you are just making headway with a task when something more important demands your attention. Between traffic, meetings and presentations you don’t know where you will find the time to complete all your other work.

Many South Africans are also not back in the office full-time and the border between your domestic life and work life is fading fast.

Following are a few tips so that you can tackle each day with gusto.

Do you know where your precious time is being lost?

Proper time-planning is the answer. You will be more organised and in control, not to mention your productivity!

  • Keep a time diary
  • You won’t know how to save time if you don’t know on what you spend your time. Do a time audit. Write down how much time you spend on sending or answering emails.
  • Download an audit app, such as Rescue Time.
  • You can also download an app on your smartphone that monitors the amount of time you spend on social media, emails etc. Apple has already installed this function on their phones under Settings and then Screen time.

Perhaps you can drive to work later and miss traffic? Perhaps you spend far too much time on emails? Perhaps too much time on YouTube or Facebook?

  • Make a to-do list
  • Make the list daily and specify a deadline when the task has to be completed. Challenge yourself. If you say you have two hours for that research about a new product, try to complete it in and hour-and-a-half.
  • Do the most urgent or difficult tasks first thing in the morning. Once you have completed them, it will motivate you for the rest of the day. You most probably also have the most energy early in the workday.
  • Keep your to-do list as simple as possible. If you have to make a presentation, don’t just say: ‘Write presentation’. Break it down into various steps or tasks such as 1) Do research, 2) Write framework, 3) Do graphics, 4) Have it approved.
  • Decide by what time or date you will complete the less important tasks and make a note on your calendar as a reminder.
  • Plan your month ahead where possible. Write down upcoming appointments or tasks.
  • Organise your desks before you leave the office so that you can get to work immediately the next morning.
  • Delegate tasks to others
  • Focus on one task at a time
  • Don’t try to multi-task. Research has shown that it is impossible to do more than one task thoroughly at the same time.
  • Don’t check your emails or phone while busy with a task. It can wait. The task will only take you longer to complete because your attention is wandering.
  • Set specific times aside to check and organise your emails
  • Experts suggest that you do this only twice a day as this is the one area where time is robbed the most.
  • Change your routine
  • Get up an hour earlier so that you can compile that to-do list or use the time to think of creative ideas for your work. Even in creative careers time has to be set aside for this. Authors don’t just write when they feel inspired.
  • You may say ‘no’

– “Do you have a few minutes?” “Let’s take a smoke break.” If you don’t have time, you may say ‘no’ friendly but firmly.

  • Make a ‘DONE LIST
  • Tick off each completed task and at the end of the week take a look to see if you achieved what you had set out to do.
  • Use ‘dead’ time

That time in traffic? Listen to an audiobook or a motivational talk. However, remember you must also give yourself time to relax and spend with loved ones. Research has shown clearly that happy, balanced workers are the most productive.

Thought for the day:

“Don’t say you don’t have the time. You have the same number of hours in a day as Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein did.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.




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