Create time and get stuff done!!

How would you like an extra 6 weeks a year to spend with the family?

Create Time and Get Stuff DoneI hear so many people these days saying that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get their work done, are you one of them? If so here are six ideas that may be of benefit if you want to ‘create time’ to get your work done.

Alter Your Hours and Create 6 Weeks a Year!

How would you like an extra 6 weeks a year to spend with the family? It can be easily done! If like most people you work from 9am-5pm, you are undoubtedly commuting to work in rush hour traffic. In most large cities, the average commute spends an average of two hours a day commuting to and from their place of work. Flexi Time working is becoming more popular these days, but is sometimes resisted by employees. If you are able to, consider changing your hours from the normal 9 – 5pm to 8 – 4pm, or even 10 – 6, that small change means you would miss the rush hour traffic and save thirty minutes each way or an hour a day, which in turn equates to between 220 and 250 hours a year (depending on which country you live in)! That alone will free up the equivalent of five or six working weeks!

Turn Commuting Time into Productive Time

Many of us dread the daily commute to the office, getting caught up in traffic jams or the curse of the delayed train. Many people succumb to road rage and get stressed out by all the hustle and bustle. There must be a better way to start the day than to be stressed out before we even get to work! With a little thought you can take advantage of this time. If traveling by car, turn the radio off and start to give some thought to your upcoming day, perhaps use a Dictaphone to record your daily action list or outline that email you have been putting off. If traveling by bus or train use the time to read that report or perhaps you can clear some emails prior to arriving at the office?

Get a head start to your day by using your commuting time wisely, you will free up time and be more productive and focused when you finally do get to the office.

The Big Email Debate

What should I do? Do I answer emails as they arrive in my inbox or at set times during the day? Most people have their email notification switched on and when the machine goes ding, they are compelled to read the email that has just arrived, unfortunately this is one of the most common time stealers. It’s not just the few minutes that it takes to read the mail, it’s the 10 – 15 minutes it takes to get focused again. If you only received 10 emails a day and 10 minutes refocusing time, that’s about eight hours a week of your time that is being stolen.

Checking your emails at set times (i.e.10am, 1pm, 4pm), saves you time. Give yourself a set 15 minutes to check as many emails as you can. Let people know how you work and stick to it, they will get used to it and you will be far more productive, you may even leave the office on time!!

Spend Time To Create Time!

Spend time at the beginning of the day identifying your priorities for the day. Many people spend their days being incredibly busy doing the wrong things. Prioritize your activities to ensure you get the ‘Big Stuff’ done. It’s easy to fit the small stuff around the big stuff, but not as easy to fit the big stuff around the small stuff. As a famous quote said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”

Don’t answer Your Phone!

Yes, you read it correctly, let all your calls go to your voice mail. You can then set aside a dedicated time to return your calls. By doing this you will be able to plan the call in advance and be decisive and to the point. If the other person isn’t there when you return the call either leave a message answering there query or tell them when you will call back, better still you may be able to answer their query in a quick email.

Eat a Homemade Sandwich?

Most people are given a 30 to 60 minute lunch break, which they spend queuing in the restaurant or café. Whilst you should always aim to take a break, it only takes 5-10 minutes to eat a sandwich. By taking a sandwich to work you will save 50 minutes a day, or 4 hours a week and in truth your sandwich will probably be a lot healthier and far more palatable than the one you would have brought in the shop.

What could you do to create time on a daily basis?

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is the Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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30 thoughts on “Create time and get stuff done!!

  1. Well done Mike! The Commuting part I am not able to do as I am well driving to work. I have no way of recording my thoughts. Though I do have many thoughts about business as I drive to and fro work. All the rest of the ideas above are great ideas I wish I could just turn the email and phone off as they are a big waste of time and facebook to.

    All The Best
    Edward Haberthur
    Edward recently posted…Understanding Private Label RightsMy Profile

    • Thanks Edward, it’s primarily just managing your time and deciding that you will only check email twice a day and doing it until it becomes a habit

  2. Hi Mike,

    Great advice and easy to follow! Email time allocation is one area I have just trained myself with and it makes that part of my business not feel like so much of a chore.

    I started doing it as part of my time management plan. I now time block my day and it makes me feel like I have more hours in the day. A win-win for sure!
    Susan O’Dea recently posted…Lead Management – Turning Leads Into CustomersMy Profile

  3. Hi Mike

    Happily I work from home – but I remember when I had a part-time job for a while, even though it was only a short distance from home I really resented the couple of hours wasted traveling, so your tips to make that a productive time are excellent.

    My big time waster is emails. Most of my work comes in by email so it’s tempting to keep checking. I’ll try out your “timed checking”. The other thing I have done is have a mass prune of lists I am subscribed to because I realized that most of my email time was deleting stuff I never read! Very unproductive 🙂

    Thanks for another great post, Joy
    Joy Healey recently posted…Solving the Problems of Network MarketingMy Profile

  4. Since I work at home, don’t have to be concerned with commute time.

    The biggest time waster for me from the list above is emails, gobs and gobs of emails every day, they never stop. I currently have too many email accounts for all my websites, business and personal life (currently 19 accounts).

    Some I don’t check that often, some are duplicates (forward to my main box if business related), and others notify me even if a fly posts a comment on Facebook for example (belong to too many groups, etc). Even when I get around to emails (10pm or later) there are sooo many. I have unsubscribed but notice a few weeks later, those are back.

    However, the tips you gave above do work (at least help) to minimize or make the best use of time available and that’s what counts. 😉
    Michel Snook recently posted…4 Parts to Affiliate Success Step 4My Profile

    • Great advice Sarah, like you I never answer my phone, it goes to answer phone and it is surprising the amount of people who never leave a message, my view is that it couldn’t have been that urgent

  5. Love these tips Mike! I find I can get more done if I take small, frequent breaks throughout the day. I work from home so it is easy to get up and take a quick walk, or stop for a tea and then head back to work. Sitting for too many hours doesn’t help my productivity or my body!
    Sue recently posted…Klout SuperHero PLR PackMy Profile

    • Thanks Sue, you are correct about taking short breaks, the Pomodoro technique advocates working for 20 mins and then taking a 5 min break and after 3 cycles take a 10 min break.

  6. Hi Mike, great advice here. I work from home and do all of the above except the commuting. I suppose I could slide down the handrail instead of using the stairs!
    The internet can be as big a time waster as TV. If you use Google Chrome for surfing take a look at Stayfocusd and Timewarp for limiting your time on online distractions.

    • Thanks Jan, I think dropping your phone was a bit drastic, you could of just turned it off 😉 You are so right many people don’t realise how much time they spend on their phone or how much of a time thief it is

  7. Great post Mike, my one suggestion re lunch is to also use those saved minutes by going for a walk which is so reenergising if you work in a busy office.

    I always feel more enthusiastic when I have had a break from the task in hand and often find solutions pop into my head more spontaneously when I am walking around!

  8. Hi Mike.
    Good points to “find” time. I’d add – Turn off the TV!
    One can spend so many hours letting “stuff” scroll past your eyeballs!

    I’ve just recently started getting up at 5.30 am – and finding it quite a good time to concentrate! Not by choice, I add. My neighbor seems to have to load his van before driving away every morning at that hour, thus waking me up. I used to lie there fuming and trying to get back to sleep – then I decided to “chill” and use the time! Now I begin the day in a much happier frame of mind!

    Jennifer, the Golden Entrepreneur recently posted…Top 10 Tools of Internet MarketingMy Profile

    • Hi Jennifer, your point about watching TV is so true. Love your change in attitude towards your early morning alarm clock, sometimes a change of perception can make a world of difference

  9. This is great advice, Mike! After all, we all only have some 24 hours. It’s how we use them that makes the difference in our lives.
    Another idea to consider? Have your eMail or articles you must peruse for work read to you while driving. It’s a way to avoid those activities encroaching on your active work time- and still keeping up. (Remember: Text to speech is perfect. It’s only speech to text that is problematic.)
    Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA recently posted…If a tree grows in Brooklyn?My Profile