Get more hours out of your day

If you are anything like the hardworking eVision Digital Marketing staff, you may feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a day. It’s a fact…Americans work more hours than people in other industrialized countries, but are we accomplishing more? Sometimes your 8, 10, or 12 hours at work feel like a slog…as though you’re busy pushing through your tasks, yet so much gets left undone. If only having more hours in the day was an option!

Of course that’s not possible, but it is just possible that you aren’t accomplishing as much as you possibly could in your day because of how you manage your time. So…how can you squeeze more hours from your work day without feeling stressed and exhausted?

Here are a few ideas to help you practice effective time management and add more productive hours to your day:

1. Create a task list.

A task list is a tool to help you ensure maximum productivity. It’s a great way to get organized and be able to see the big picture so you know what’s ahead of you.

  • Creating your task list is somewhat like brainstorming or mind mapping. Just jot the items down as they come to you. Don’t even think about the size of the tasks as you do this.
  • One of the best parts of writing a task list is that you might find it contains tasks you can delegate to others in your workplace.
  • Your task list helps you to be in control of your day. It’s like taking a deep breath before doing something important…it can provide focus and calmness at the beginning of each day. You’ll find it much easier to cope with stress when you have those tasks listed!

2. Prioritize responsibilities.

The items you’ve just listed on your task list are all important, but of course some are more important than others. It’s crucial to organize them accordingly.

  • Prioritizing responsibilities helps you to share your effort based on the significance of each task. Naturally, you’ll want the things at the top of the list to get most of your time.
  • Consider your own tasks and the ones for other people separately. Even though everything may require your input and attention, avoid ranking someone else’s urgency above your own important tasks. Remember your hours are precious!
  • Once you’ve prioritized, review your list and take a little time to consider whether you can truly give all of these tasks your full attention. Be critical here…it’s like spring cleaning. The things that aren’t as important may need to be shifted to another day or time.

3. Allow yourself to focus.

Focus is the “golden nugget” when it comes to completing your tasks. Now that you’ve listed them, you have to develop the focus needed to work on each task you’ve listed.

  • Sometimes creating a task list gives a false sense of being in control of what needs to be done. But remember – you’re aiming to extract more hours from the day. That’s going to involve complete focus on each single item as you get to it.
  • Focusing means preventing external factors from affecting your ability to concentrate on the task at hand. It may mean – gasp – logging out of Facebook, ignoring emails, taking the phone off the hook, shutting your office door or even taking a trip to Starbucks for a quiet corner table. Learning to squeeze more hours from your day actually requires taking some the necessary breaks.
  • Timing can be a huge asses for maintaining focus on a task. Try setting your phone alarm to go off every 30 minutes. Get up, stretch, get a coffee or a drink of water, and get right back at it for another 30-minute timed stint.
  • There may be times when you have to deal with obstacles within the task itself. If it’s something you’re unable to overcome right away, take a break from that task and move on to something else.

Try this simple formula and see if it can help you feel like you are gaining extra hours each day. The benefits also include less stress and the ability to enjoy the people you are working to help…your valued clients!