The truth is there are many ways to have more time, to double your productivity and to perform even better. It’s just that people aren’t willing to dedicate time and energy to read about and implement the right strategies, and thus just keep doing what they do, never having enough time, but complaining about it all the time.
I’ve found out that most of the things we do aren’t necessary. Also, the way we do them isn’t always the most practical.
We ourselves are losing the battle with procrastination, simply because we’re overburdened with tasks each day, don’t find any joy in the work we do, and are too lazy to find smarter and faster ways to do what we regularly do.
The solution to having more time and being twice as productive then lies in self-analysis – analyzing everything we do throughout the day, with every detail, time spent and results achieved.
Then, once we get the bigger picture, we can make changes.
And a great way to do this self-analysis of your time is by answering some specific questions connected to your daily activities and the way you get stuff done.
12 Questions to Ask Yourself to Double Your Productivity and Have More Time
1. Which of the tasks on your to-do list can be done by someone else?
Often what we think we should do can be executed by someone else. It’s just that we’re perfectionists and can’t leave it in someone else’s hands.
But in the long term, that costs us our precious time, which is usually equal to losing the money we could have made.
So don’t be afraid to delegate work to others. They may do it better, who knows.
All successful people are doing it. There are time-wasting activities that just take too long, and aren’t that important, but which need to be done. And that’s when you can tell others to do it.
That doesn’t apply only to the employer-employee relationship. You should reclaim your time at home too. Let others in the family do half of your chores if you want to have more time for yourself.
2. What are your 3 MITs?
[tweetthis]No matter how important, rich or busy you are, there are always just a few tasks on your to-do list that are more important than anything else.[/tweetthis]
If you focus on them and complete them first thing in the morning, you’ll have achieved enough to move onto less important stuff and still feel accomplished.
In different stages of your life these MITs will change. At one point it will all be connected to passing your exams at college, but then it will be all about making some money. Then comes the family phase, and no business task can stay higher on the list than what’s related to your children.
You get the point.
What you should do after you answer this question is to simply become aware of the fact that at any moment you’ll have 1-3 super important things. Focus on them. And even on your days off, keep them in mind.
They are what will make you exceed in life. Everything else is secondary.
3. Are you sleeping more than you need to?
We’re told that 8 hours per night is the right number to stay healthy. That’s ingrained in us since childhood.
But have you tried sleeping for 5-6 hours a day? If you have and are doing it right, then you know you can be highly productive without the other 2-3 hours.
Things is, we sleep more than we need just because we think we should. But if you’re in the part of your life where you want to create a business, make money, be active, help others, leave a mark in the world, or to just study like crazy, then you should sleep less and have more time instead.
I’ve read about plenty of entrepreneurs that sleep just a few hours per night, but that make the most of them, and get up insanely early just to keep working on what they believe in. And after some time, such effort always pays off.
Also, the more you sleep, the more you wanna keep doing it and the lazier you are.
4. What are the things you do daily that give you 80% of the results?
The Pareto principle is always in motion.
According to Wiki, it states that “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”
And it applies to every single area of life.
Here are some examples Mark Manson gives in this post:
“the 80% of people you spend time with who only add 20% of the pleasure in your life (spend less time with them). The 80% of crap you use 20% of the time (throw it out or sell it). The 80% of the clothes you wear 20% of the time (same thing).
Identifying the 20% of the food you eat 80% of the time will probably explain whether you keep a healthy diet or not and how healthy it is. Hey, who needs to follow a diet? Just make sure to switch to where the 20% of food you eat 80% of the time is healthy.
When I first considered how the 80/20 Principle applied to my own life, I instantly realized a few things.
1. A few of my hobbies (television shows and video games) accounted for 80% of my time only brought me 20% of my fulfillment.
2. I didn’t enjoy a few of my friends who I spent 80% of my time with (hence I was not happy in my social life).
3. 80% of what I spent my money on was not useful or healthy for my lifestyle.”
That goes on and on until you figure out what actually brings you results, do more of it, and eliminate the rest.
5. Are you trying to be perfect and get everything done?
Cause that usually means getting nothing done. Or if you do, never having the results you want.
[tweetthis]Perfectionism is a productivity killer. So let go of it if you want to have more time and spend it the way you want.[/tweetthis]
6. What are your lazy habits and what can you do about them?
In this post I’ve outlined 22 lazy habits most people are doing these days. Check them out and see how you can fix the ones you’ve developed through the years.
7. Do you start working on your most important tasks first thing in the morning?
That’s what you should be doing to have more time in the long-term.
It goes together perfectly with getting up early and having a powerful morning routine (like that one).
It’s important to do your MITs before everything else for a few reasons:
• it helps you jumpstart your day and after that you’re motivated and energized to move onto other tasks;
• you feel accomplished enough before others have even woken up;
• in the morning you’re full of energy and haven’t used your willpower yet, so it’s best to invest these in getting done the things that matter the most.
8. Do you usually plan more than 2 big things in one day?
Don’t forget that our willpower is a finite resource, that we have a short attention span, can’t be focused for that much time and get bored easily. That means your performance will be poor if you do more than 2 big things (projects, events, tasks, etc.) a day.
9. Are you setting deadlines for your tasks?
That’s one of the biggest motivators to actually make us start working on something and complete it.
Don’t underestimate the power of having a deadline. And preferably make it a short-term one for each task.
That creates urgency. Otherwise, you can put off forever.
10. Are you using reminders?
Forgetting that you had to do something is not an excuse.
There are enough free softwares out there to help you stay alert. And putting notes in visible places will always be the simplest, and most effective way to remind yourself of what’s left to be done for the day.
11. Are you working on your current task just to put off another one for later?
That happens way too often without people even realizing.
So it’s smart to just stop for a second and ask yourself that when starting another project.
12. If you had to stop doing 4/5 of what you’re doing daily, what would these tasks, projects and activities be?
That’s a technique Tim Ferriss talked about way back when he published The 4-Hour Workweek. And it’s quite useful.
If you’re honest with yourself, and ruthless with your time, you’ll realize that you’re doing many unproductive things. And if you get rid of them, you may finally see the progress you’ve been waiting for.
So that’s how you make more time for yourself and double your productivity.
It’s worth taking an hour or two to assess your daily schedule and make a plan on what to eliminate, and what to focus more energy and time on.
What about you? Have you asked yourself any of these questions? What other ways to be more productive and have more time can you think of?
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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