Home » Self Improvement » Time Management

Time Saving Myths

Sandra Prior
Aug 4, 2008
Still finding 24 hours aren't enough? We discover how to make the most out of your day.

Clear away all Clutter to become More Organized

While there's a strong argument for not allowing total chaos to reign, refusing to have any mess around at all can result in things being lost. Yes, you probably need to throw the nine receipts in your purse away, but what about the tenth receipt you need to keep so you can return the top that doesn't quite fit? Also, tidying a desk or having a clean out can sometimes be the perfect way to procrastinate, which means that the task that should be a priority doesn't get done.

What to do instead: You don't need to hang on to everything, but a good rule of thumb is if it's from this year or last, keep it and file it in a place you'll remember, if you're not sure, put it in a folder or drawer labeled 'maybe' and go through the file every so often, either binning or filing each item. And if you use tidying as a way to procrastinate, be honest with yourself. Cut the time you spend procrastinating and devote the time you gain to getting on with matters.

Make More Time by getting up 30 Minutes Earlier

Research shows that not getting enough sleep leads to an increase in the body's production of the stress hormone cortisol, which over time can leave you feeling irritable, anxious and less productive.

What to do instead: Sleep specialists recommend between seven and eight hours sleep a night. It's also worth working out whether you're a night owl or a lark. Half of us find that we have more energy in the morning, while the other half of us work better in the evenings. Working at your most productive time means you get more done in less time.

A to-do list is Essential for Achievement

A to-do list is often a long and unrealistic wish list - does 'sort out photos from last two years into albums' and 'decorating living room' alongside 'send Kate a birthday card' and 'get soup out of freezer' sound familiar? Most people have more on their to-do list than they can possibly hope to accomplish in a day. This can mean you end up de-motivated and less productive.

What to do instead: Replace the long, never ending list with dated daily action plans. Get into the habit of writing down your top two daily priorities and check to ensure that you are dealing with them and don't get distracted. You'll achieve much more - without the guilt factor.

Working Increases Productivity

Researchers have found that checking cell phones or laptop computers up to an hour before bed triggers the brain to stop production of melatonin, a natural hormone known to aid restful sleep. Checking your work emails before bed on any electronic device is essentially the equivalent of drinking a double expresso last thing at night, leading to an increased risk of insomnia and/or disturbed sleep.

What to do: Incorporating an hour of wind down time in a relaxed environment before bed helps ensure a great night's sleep. Try taking a warm aromatherapy bath - mandarin, lavender, marjoram, geranium and bergamot all have soothing properties - or listening to gentle music, in a candle lit room.

Working Faster gets More Done

Pushing yourself can lead to the body pumping extra adrenaline into your system and a chronic state of stress, which has a negative impact on productivity.

What to do instead: Research shows that regular meditation helps you think clearly, improves decision making and increases stamina. Or try 'musing' instead. 'Musing' - letting your mind float free - involved staring out the window or gazing at a fire. It's not as structured as meditation; you can muse any time... anywhere. Not only will it improve productivity by lowering stress levels, it's also the time when ideas and inspiration will come to you.

If you want something done, Do it Yourself

High performing companies stick to their 'core business' and outsource everything else. A car manufacturer makes cars, but doesn't run the canteen. Good delegating equals higher productivity.

What to do instead: Delegate. Ask yourself, what's your core business? Then spend as much time as possible doing it. So, if you're a massage therapist who can earn from R250 an hour, think about taking an extra client and paying somebody to clean the house instead of spending hours doing it.

Doing the Easy things First

Completing easy errands can give you a sense of accomplishment, but they can sometimes be a way to avoid tackling bigger projects.

What to do instead: Deal with difficult tasks first when your energy is high. Break down those demanding jobs into manageable chunks, and set deadlines and sub-deadlines so that they become less overwhelming.

Technology Saves Time

Technology does save time, but wastes a lot too. We all know how easy it is to get sidetracked by emails. Roughly 50% of all emails are spam.

What to do instead: When you check your emails, read no more than the five most important messages - those that will affect what you do during the day - and delete any obvious junk. Then focus on whatever else you're doing for at least an hour before you check again. This is especially important in the morning. The first hour of the day determines your productivity for the day. Don't get distracted.
About the Author
Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.
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