I recently came across this helpful article about how to save time by doing less. The article “One founder’s best productivity trick: Save time and do less” posted on the wework blog really resonated with me. As I step into doing more growth and expansion in my business, I’m seeing the challenges of only having 24 hours a day to work with. I’m familiar with the quote from Lao Tzu about time (because it’s posted in my office for optimal viewing pleasure for a reason…)
“Time is a created thing. To say I don’t have time is like saying I don’t want to.”
However even with the knowledge that I’m the one creating the construct of time versus seeing it as a master that I must serve, it still escapes me how to fit everything in so that I can still have some semblance of balance in my life.
The blog’s author discussed seven questions you can test yourself with to see if you are investing your time well. I will hit on a few of these that I find to be prevalent in my life.
Do you say No?
The author talked about a deep need many of us have to be liked and our tendency to say yes to everything. I have started to pay more attention to the energy I bring when I say yes to something. Just this week I was invited to attend a monthly meeting for a group of women that I met in April. The meeting time was not particularly convenient for me (10 pm EST via Skype) and during the last meeting I found myself getting edgy at the 11 pm mark wondering if there was an end in sight. I had reservations about attending this month and when I checked in with myself, I discovered that I was doing it out of obligation. Obligation, should, have to, must…not energies that produce a foundation of passion, commitment or community. A lot of people live their entire lives based on obligation. This energy is heavy and it carries RESISTANCE because you are forcing yourself to do something that deep down you know you don’t want to do! Imagine the impact spending 8 to 10 hours a day from this place does to your mind, body and spirit. What is the impact on the people around you? We are responsible for the energy we bring. Check in with yourself about what you enjoy doing and say YES to showing up fully for doing it.
Is Everything on Your To-Do List Necessary?
A long ago I had a close friend who shared with me that the proverbial To Do Queue would always be full. I doubted it at the time. Surely I would have a magical moment when everything on the list was crossed off and I could celebrate the victory. Now I see how naïve my thinking was. Life is a constant flow of activity. Take one thing off your list, add two additional things. Nothing is static (except for our thinking at times!). The universe is dynamic. Our lives are dynamic. We are busy little bees with little time to focus on the nectar of life!
The author had a great tip about managing the To-Do list: “Go through each one and write down the impact it will have (e.g. “revenue opportunity” or “user growth”). You’ll be surprised how many items aren’t aligned with your company or personal goals”. I love this as a management tool. Image using this in life and business. What’s aligned for me? What can I let go of? Even though we can never be rid of the list, we can certainly take proactive steps to manage it more effectively.
Are You a Slave to Your Inbox?
Judging from the amount of emails I have in mine…YES! But I do spend about a minute each day fantasizing about the day when I can invest the time to slim those email accounts down. The author hits on many excellent points and the one that speaks to me most is “And while you’re at it, unsubscribe from anything you don’t read.”
*Said sheepishly*…but…I did have the very best intention to read each thing when I signed up for it. The problem is I’m a nerd and I’ll eagerly pursue learning about many topics. And then the inbox starts to put on weight and before you know it I’m carrying around an extra 20 pounds. With awareness however, I believe anything can be handled so I have been unsubscribing myself from ‘the best of intentions.’ I’m also committing to setting aside time to navigate the unruly beasts!
Additional tip: Sort by Sender which allows you to immediately delete anything that is no longer relevant in your inbox. After getting the list to a manageable level, create folders for storage instead of using your inbox as a ‘landing pad’. We don’t leave physical mail in our mailbox and only take out the items we want, that would be ridiculous but we treat our electronic inbox in that very way.
At the end of the day, each and every one of us are working with the same 24 hours. How we spend our time determines the productivity and pleasure of our lives. Time allotment is a useful way to see what matters to you. What are you spending your time on? Is it moving you forward or keeping you treading the same ol’ waters? Incorporating these tips can very well assist you with getting different results and that is a beautiful thing!
To check out the full article and more on the author Alex Cavoulacos, visit wework.