Your time is valuable. In fact, if you think of your time as money, then saving time is like putting money in the bank. So, when productivity is at a premium, you would think that multi-tasking would be the way to go, wouldn’t you? Doing two things, or even three, in the time you’d allotted for one, what could be better?
And, indeed, for some things multi-tasking is great. If you are performing a repetitive task that requires little or no concentration, adding another task on top of it makes total sense. Listening to a novel on your iPod while running on a treadmill is a perfect example. It’s the time management equivalent of getting more bang for your buck!
But multitasking can work against you with activities that require your focused attention. In fact, tests by the American Psychological Association have shown that each time you switch your attention between activities, you actually lose some ground.
The more complicated the task – or if it’s something that’s new to you – the harder it is for your brain to shift gears back and forth. And so, the more often you switch, the more time you lose, AND the more stress you generate. So, it’s a fact that with complex tasks, multitasking wastes time even when you’d intuitively think that it would increase efficiency.
Fortunately, there are lots of time management techniques that increase your productivity AND that work in harmony with how your brain functions. Here are 3 Time Management Tools that boost your productivity and save you time, energy AND money.
#1: Task Templates: Create outlines (templates) of complex but repetitive tasks for speedy reference. Don’t waste time relying on your memory or searching for things you need to complete your task. Write it all down so you have the information when you need it … FAST! Jot down projects that need templates as you think of them. The more you work from templates, the more time you’ll free up for getting more done, or for activities like making money
#2: To Do Lists: Prioritize your tasks in advance, and remember to list tasks in small, workable chunks. You’ll be surprised at what you can get done in 5 minutes! Include only what you can realistically accomplish for each day so you don’t overwhelm yourself. (You can use a weekly to-do list to track other tasks.) At the end of each day review your list AND give yourself a pat on the back for what you have accomplished!
#3: Boundaries: Identify and set aside times you do not want to be disturbed so you can focus on complex projects. Let others in your life know, and call on their support in advance to protect your interruption-free time. You’ll be able to get more done in shorter periods when you aren’t interrupted.
Each of these powerful tools, used effectively and consistently, can save you lots of precious time. When you incorporate them into your daily routine, not only will you find more time, but by enhancing your focus and productivity, you’ll find that your stress is reduced, too. This frees up more of your energy to use toward accomplishing your money-making (or money-saving) goals.
What other ways can you start improving your life and saving money today by making the most of your time?
Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder Expert
Find time for what matters most to you!”
photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com, photographer: Graur Razvan Ionut