BY KATE CHRISTIE
Are you time poor? Sick of the frustration, guilt, stress and sheer exhaustion that comes with trying to juggle your work, life, family and other commitments?
It’s time to start thinking about your time the way you think about your money: as a precious, enormously valuable and limited resource that needs to be consciously invested for the greatest possible return. There are dozens of ways you can maximise your productivity at home and work, and here are some of my favourites.
Power up your productivity:
Don’t be busy
You look busy. You sound busy. You act busy. When you bump into a friend or colleague and they ask you how you are, and you respond — “I’m so busy!” And they respond — “Oh! I’m so busy too!”
Have you ever thought about the impression you create with this simple response? It’s essentially the same as responding, “I’m so unproductive!” And that’s not a great impression to leave. It’s time to lose being busy. It’s time to find a new line, “I’m terrific”, or “I’m happy”, or “I’m moving at pace”.
A positive response sounds a lot better than I’m busy, it will lift your mood, and it will leave the right impression.
Hourly rate yourself
Your time is money. Work out your hourly rate. If you have a job or business where you charge clients by the hour, this is the value you should put on your time, all the time.
For example, if your hourly rate is $50 and you spend an hour a day on social media, that is costing you $18,250 of your time a year. Is this the best use of your time?
Outsource and insource
You can’t wear every hat at home and at work all the time – just how many of you do you think there are? To outsource, identify the tasks that you are prepared to pay an expert to do for you. Think of the tasks you don’t like or that you are not good at – tasks that an expert can complete faster, better and cheaper than you (you now know your hourly rate).
Outsourcing frees you up to spend more time on what you absolutely love to do. Insourcing is the exact opposite of outsourcing. Identify everything you do around your home for others that they can do for themselves and you don’t have to pay them for!
Think of tasks like tidying up, unloading the dishwasher, feeding the pets. Regardless of your kids’ age, if they can walk, there are tasks they can do around the house. If your 2-year-old can tidy away his/her toys then I’m confident that your 40-year-old partner is capable of the same.
Don’t do list
We all know about ‘To Do’ Lists. A great way to become more productive is to keep a list of the old habits and behaviours you no longer want to maintain.
Batching is the process of grouping similar tasks together and then blocking out slabs of time in your calendar to complete these tasks. This allows you to have one long, concentrated period allocated to dealing with tasks as opposed to jumping in and out of smaller tasks repeatedly throughout the day.
Batching also enables a clean and structured calendar, and hence day, as opposed to a hectic and disorganised one. Batch your high energy periods for your hardest, most important tasks.
Bring it all together
We are all creatures of habit. The way you managed today was generally the same as you managed yesterday, last week, and last month.
From tomorrow you will have a new mindset – one of smart time investment. Tomorrow you will start maximising your productivity. It’s all about having the right mindset – just how badly do you want it?
Kate Christie is a time management specialist, bestselling author, global speaker and the founder and CEO of Time Stylers. Her fourth book, Me First: The Guilt-Free Guide to Prioritising You (Wiley), is available in select bookstores.