'Beginning The Shorter Working Week'
Author; Rosie Gray
Have you ever noticed how much you can get done when you have an absolute, immoveable deadline rushing towards you?
I notice a tremendous burst of activity in the last few days before beginning a holiday. The drive to complete the essentials before leaving seems to bring an impressive focus - imagine how effective we would be if we were always like that!
It seems when we have the determination to finish by a certain time, our chances of doing so increase dramatically. So how can we benefit from this more often? Here's a time management tip to help you do just that - and who knows, you might just find you like it!
Although it might sound counterintuitive, decide to finish earlier today, perhaps by just 15 minutes. It's well-known that 'Work expands to fit the time available' (often called Parkinson's Law) and many of us work longer hours out of habit. Many stay late at work to avoid heavy traffic - but admit they don't necessarily produce much more work. Shrinking our day deliberately can bring us the same 'pre-holiday' type of focus.
And to make it easier, give yourself an incentive to whiz through your work and leave earlier.
Write a bullet point list of the;
'10 Things I Could Do If I Stopped Giving Away My Time'
List at least 10 activities you really want to do, but keeping pushing aside when you say 'yes' to other people's requests. After all, saying 'yes' to a request often means saying 'no' to something you wanted for yourself - and that could include leaving at an earlier time.
Here are a few things on my list. I enjoy them but can miss out if I give my time away without pausing for thought.
Gardening in summer evenings
Reading one of the many books piled up waiting
Enjoying a leisurely 'catch up' with good friends
What will be on your list?
Maybe it's watching the 'big match' live, spending 1:1 time with your family, or simply time for a favourite activity/hobby.
Of course many requests for your help will be ones you want to give your time and energy to, or are essential elements of your job. But chances are, not all will be.
So, keep your list somewhere visible, perhaps by the phone. Next time you receive a request, take a quick look at it, before you say 'yes'. Remember you're making a choice about using your time. So make it consciously, weighing up the alternatives.
And when you choose to say 'no' to a new commitment, remember to reward yourself by enjoying the promised activity.
Next Time Management Article; 'Getting Started When You're Stuck'