One of the problems that we all come across nowadays is lack of time. We all desire to do lots of things but are constrained by time which then leads to stress and make us frustrated. We cannot add hours to a 24-hour day but can at least try to be more productive by managing our time better.
One of the first things we can do with regard to managing time is to plan our day. It may sound simple and childish to some but it helps to make a general schedule for the day, keeping in mind a couple of major things that you would like to accomplish. It is a fact that planning a project results in spending less time on the project itself.
You can work much more effectively if you work uninterruptedly; this may mean switching off your mobile and not taking any calls. Exclusive attention on one chore at a time should be the name of the game. Concentration may help in improving the quality of your work and may entail less time.
You should always remember that boredom sets in and tension accumulates if you do not switch off for a few minutes from a mental task. Ideally, the break should involve some sort of a physical activity, like brief exercise if you can manage it, or at least walking around the office while chatting with your colleagues. If nothing else, the least that you can do is to stand from a sitting position for a few minutes. You should not consider such a break as waste of time because the purpose is to refresh yourself which eventually will result in increasing your efficiency.
You can only do one task at a time. If you work from a desk, then the most important papers relating to it should be at the center of your desk so that you can give it your exclusive and utmost attention. A cluttered desk, or a cluttered room, for that matter, leads to tension and frustration. If possible, you should make it a habit to clear your desk, or at least organize it every evening, before leaving the office.
You can never achieve perfection; so you should give up being a perfectionist. The goal should be to achieve excellence but perfectionism is unattainable and borders on neurosis.
It is incredible as to how much we all can achieve if we start saying no to requests that do not contribute to our goals. This may be going to a lunch or a dinner which may be totally useless and boring to you; attending a function whether as a participant or a speaker; or making a commitment which you are not interested in. You need not be rude while saying no; all that is required from your end is a little bit of tact along with firmness.
We all procrastinate and the trick to overcome this nasty habit is to start with the most difficult task that you have been putting-off. You would suddenly feel relaxed once it is done and it is possible that it may take far less time than you had anticipated the job would take. You should make it a habit to start with the errand that you detest the most but which has to be done; this may sometimes be simply making a phone call that you dread.
We all have heard that delegating authority is one of the best leadership traits. It is time-consuming and tiring if you try to do everything yourself; this trait may be linked with your perfectionist streak and delegation may help overcome both. While delegating, you should ensure that you also give sufficient authority to make necessary decisions.
And lastly, cut out time wasting activities that divert you from your real goals, whether it is watching television for hours, reading useless stuff, or anything that does not give you a feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction.
All of the above are achievable and mostly entail minor changes in your habits. They may however overwhelmingly increase your productivity and the quality of your work. And who knows, you may end up writing that novel which you had been planning to write for ages!