How to save time ? It means making it profitable when you can use it. To achieve this, you need time.
Avoiding the superfluous is a difficult task because the world seeks to inundate you with silly things to do.
An interruption is when you can’t finish a priority task once and for all. There are 3 types of daily interruptions :
- All the things that waste your time : These are all the things that aren’t really important like discussions, surfing the web, lots of phone calls and a lot of meetings.
- All the tasks that consume your time : All the repetitive requests or tasks that interrupt you in your important work like reading and answering your emails or making and receiving phone calls.
- All forms of assistance : These are all validation requests for small things such as expenses or all sorts of problems to solve for your clients.
If you tolerate fools interrupting you, you will become one in your turn. You can’t blame a fool for interrupting you because it’s like warning a clown who scares children. They can’t help it because it’s in their nature.
Limit your tasks in 6 steps and gain in efficiency
Step 1 : Learn how to limit your email traffic
Start your day by completing the most difficult or important tasks before 11:00 am. This means not checking your inbox first. This way you will avoid postponing important tasks under the pretext of reading your e-mails or taking a lunch break.
To better represent you the gain :
Second step : Create an automatic email response
Another save time technique is to create an automatic email response that will force your colleagues, your boss, your suppliers and your customers to be more efficient.
If this seems impossible for you, discuss it with your supervisor and suggest that you try it for 2 or 3 days. You can argue about being constantly interrupted, receiving a lot of spam or invoking late projects.
Here is an example of an auto-reply message for your email :
Having a lot of work at the moment, I check my emails twice a day, at 12:00 am [see if necessary to specify the time zone] and at 4:00 pm.
In case of emergency (and only in case of emergency), you can contact me at [phone number].
Thank you for your understanding.
PS: this measure responds to a need for efficiency and productivity. It helps me to accomplish more in order to serve you better.
This type of email will reduce unnecessary contact and will force people to think twice before interrupting you. A way to improve collective efficiency.
Step Three : Limit phone calls and filter incoming calls
This step consists of limiting your phone calls and filtering incoming calls to save time. To do this, you need two phone numbers, an office number for non-urgent calls and a mobile number for urgent calls. You can very well use 2 mobile numbers.
Enter your mobile phone number in the sample email below. You can let the messenger take the message and listen to it at the time to judge its importance. It is important to let the troublemakers wait.
Here is an example of an auto-reply message for your email :
You've reached the voice mailbox of [first name].
I check my messages twice a day, at 12pm [see if necessary to specify the time zone] and at 4pm.
In case of emergency (and only in case of emergency), you can contact me at [number].
Otherwise, leave me a message and I will call you back as soon as I hear from you.
Don't forget to leave me your e-mail address, it is often easier for me to answer you quickly by e-mail.
Thank you for your understanding: this measure is in response to a concern for efficiency and productivity to help me accomplish more and serve you better.
Have a nice day,
Step Four : Learn how to say “No” to the meeting
In this step for save time, you will keep those around you focused on their goals. You must learn to say “No” and avoid meetings. Especially for those who do not have specific goals. Whether it is face-to-face or over the phone.
Once everyone understands that you are not to be disturbed and that you are focused on what you are doing, everyone will be able to accept it and continue with their tasks.
If you’re being solicited, to avoid potential round-trips, instead of using a message like “Can we meet at 2:00 pm ?” it will become “Can we meet at 2:00 pm ? If this is not possible, please propose 3 other time slots.“. If you’ve ever experimented with coding a program, you understand the importance of cultivating the “If…then” structure. The meeting will take place! then it should not last more than 30 minutes.
Step 5 : Group what consumes time
A “warm-up” time for all tasks is incompressible. To succeed in resuming an important task after an interruption, it can take up to 45 minutes for psychological conditioning. More than a quarter of the 9 hours of daily office work, or 28%, would be swallowed up by interruptions.
Most people check their email all day long for fear of emergencies. Real emergencies are quite rare and most often reversible. Otherwise, fixing things often won’t cost very much.
The most cost-effective and least expensive solution is to wait until you have a sufficiently large volume to order. Welcome to batch production or “grouping“. It’s the solution to overcome all those things that take us time and divert us from our goal. From now on, you can avoid the repetitive tasks that interrupt the most important tasks.
If you can calculate the emotional and financial benefit of completing a single important task, you will find that the value of bundling far outweighs the savings per hour.
Sixth step : Delegate to give real responsibility
Some are unable to perform a task without first obtaining permission or information. Whether it’s your supervisor getting involved or following someone else’s work yourself. All of these things consume your time.
An individual’s IQ can feel like it doubles as soon as you give them responsibilities and trust them. Give them a chance to prove themselves, people are smarter than you think.
The main objective is to have the greatest possible decision-making capacity and full access to the necessary information.
To set the rules in your favour, you must :
- Limit access to your time.
- Forcing people to clarify their requests before spending time with them.
- Group together uninteresting routine tasks to avoid putting off larger projects.
- Don’t let others interrupt you.
- Prioritise your lifestyle.
The idea in this process is to get the rights you are fighting for.
Click HERE to discover the GTD method (Getting Things Done) in 5 steps to increase your organizational capacity and free yourself from stress “GTD method – 5 steps to organize without stress“
And you, what are your time-saving techniques ?
To go further…
Timothy Ferris In : The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich [Online] Format Paper book and digital available on : < https://amzn.to/2SVm5S2 >