How To Pack 48 Hours Into Your Day
Too much to do, too little time, constant stress. Most of us have been there. Not too long ago this is how I lived my life. I had deadlines to meet but I would constantly come up with excuses not to do the work that needed to be done. "I'll start after watching this TV show." or "I don't have time to complete this tonight. I'll start on it first thing in the morning." are some of the things I'd tell myself.
Of course the result would be that I was always rushing to finish things at the last minute and I'd produce poor quality work.
Usually, there's not much you can do about the amount of work that needs to be done. But there's a way you can increase the time you have to do it in. A recent time management study by the University of Leicester, in England, found that for every hour we spend working only 30 minutes are actually productive work. The rest of the time, we waste on little or no value tasks. The study also found that most people worked in short bursts followed by periods of waiting, distraction or mini-breaks. Just think: If you could do an hour's worth of work every hour, you'd be able to pack 48 hours into each day!
Bad work habits usually result from some form of fear of failure or procrastination. You learn over time to protect yourself from the hurt of failing by making excuses. "I would have done better if I had more time" becomes a self fulfilling reality. In order to have that excuse you unconsciously leave things to the last minute. Watching a show you always hated suddenly becomes very appealing when you have work to do.
So how can you learn to pack 48 hours into each day? Surprisingly, it's not that difficult. Most bad work habits tend to be sub-conscious. To avoid them, you first need to be aware of them. Try these five tips to a more productive way of working.
Technology can also help in your quest for the 48 hour day.
The most underrated piece of technology for managing your time is your watch. It's very easy to spend way too much time on tasks that you enjoy and too little on ones you don't. A glance at your watch or clock every now and then will give you a balanced sense of time. It's OK in the beginning to be way off on your time estimates. You may write down too many or too few items on your 5 x 3 card. Eventually, you'll gain an instinctive feel for how long tasks will take you and what you write on your card will exactly fit your 48 hour day!
PDAs are really useful for 48 hour dayers. They can be used to store all your to do lists and almost all have schedulers and clocks built in. When shopping for one, be sure to get the lightest, slimmest one that has the features you want. I can speak from personal experience that once the novelty wears off, you won't want to carry around that bulky PDA. Which kind of defeats the purpose of owning it.
Another invaluable time management tool, if you work in an office is the online group calendar. In our office, we rely on our web calendar as a centralized office notice board. We've set up sub-headings for each person in the office and use them to communicate with the group on our schedules, our vacations, important deadlines, whose turn to make the coffee etc. Another really useful feature, for when I'm away from the office, is that our group calendar can also be accessed from a cell phone or a PDA.
It's not difficult to gain control over your work habits. It is mostly being aware of the excuses you make to yourself and countering them. If you start saying to yourself: "I may not be able to finish this today but I'll start now and see how far I get." You'll be surprised how many times you actually do finish today.
About The Author
Ayesha Dean has helped 1000's of people find time to do the things important to them. She's CEO of Web Software Firm ManagedTime.com Visit http://www.ManagedTime.com and signup for E2Cal, the only FREE wireless enabled group calendar.
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