I was out for dinner with some friends last night and we fell to talking about how hard it can be to doe everything you need to in a day.
Well… it is for them. Less so me.
But it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, only earlier this year I had so much to do that I was struggling to get everything done even working 12+ hours a day.
From the four of us sitting at the table, I was the only one who runs his own business.
Anyway I made some suggestions and today I’ve already received emails saying what a difference it’s made.
Of course, I’d like to take credit for thinking up the suggestions I gave them, but I can’t. What I have done is read a lot of books about time wealth and how to maximise it and…
…there are two pieces of advice that make the biggest difference to your life.
Both of them come from Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Work Week (which you can check out here).
That’s not to say there aren’t lots of other useful tips and suggestions in his book, and many others, but that I’ve found the two I’m going to share with you the most instantly powerful.
If you put these into practice today, in fact right now, you’ll see a difference immediately.
The first is:
Turn off push notifications for your emails (skype and any other messenger) and only check them twice a day.
This is massive.
When I first put this into practice I instantly saved over 8 hours per week.
Push notifications are simultaneously one of the cleverest and most invasive modern inventions.
They’re a marketers dream because when a notification comes through it’s nearly impossible to ignore it.
Because they’re so compulsive you go and check out what the message says and, if necessary, write a reply.
But that’s not all that’s happened.
In the process of checking the message out you’ve stopped what you were doing. Then you’ve focused your brain onto something completely different. Now when you want to get back into what you were doing it takes you twice as long because you have to re-focus your brain on it.
If you don’t get the push notification message that an email has come in (or some other type of message) then you don’t break your focus to answer something that can be answered in thirty minutes when you’ve finished what you’re doing.
I now check my emails twice a day. If there’s anything that is seriously urgent and needs a faster reply then I’ll get a phone call.
By only checking my emails twice a day, I spend less than 20 minutes in total reading and replying to emails each day.
I urge you to put this into practice today, it’s super-powerful.
The second piece of advice is to get rid of that massive list of things that you have waiting to be done.
Okay… we’re not going to get rid of the whole list. We’re going to change the way you manage it.
If you have one big list that never gets completed it’s depressing.
I mean, you never feel like you’re actually achieving anything!
Which is bad for your moral, bad for your personal life and bad for business.
It’s time to stop trying to do everything and complete work that will never be completed.
Take a blank piece of A4 paper and fold it into half three times.
Each day, at the end of your days work, take one of the blank sides and write down everything that MUST get done the next day.
There are a few rules…
1. You need to write normal size
2. Don’t cram it onto the page
3. Break jobs into 20-30 minutes (anything that is bigger break into smaller elements)
Whatever you can fit on that size of paper is achievable to be done in a day.
When you first start the days work, don’t check out emails or anything else to distract you, start working on the first item on your list.
Finish the first item, cross it off your list, take a 10 minute break and start on the second.
There are two magical things happening here.
First… you’re actually crossing things off your list!
This is going to make a huge difference to the way you feel. The list isn’t endless, it’s manageable. In fact it’s not just manageable, it can be done in just a few focused hours.
The second is that you’re working for shorter, but more focused, times.
Working in shorter and more focused bursts allows you to achieve ten times more in a fraction of the time.
It’s hands down the best way to manage your time.
When you get to the bottom of your list. That’s the end of your work day.
After all, everything that had to be done that day was on the list!
I cannot give enough importance to these two techniques. They’re super-powerful and will change your life overnight.
Every day you’re not implementing them is a day when you’re missing out on a more relaxed and stress-free life.