One of the most limiting resources I have lately is time. There are really so many great things to do which all make sense and would improve my overall goals. So naturally the questions comes up: How can I save time or how can I work faster and get more of my important stuff done?
This is obviously a common problem for a lot of us. But let me get something straight: In general I think it’s not the overall solution to try and crunch more and more into your given time. The first approach here is to think about what is really important to you and what is really making an impact to your overall goals?
The 80/20 Rule
80% of your results will come from 20% of where you spend your time. That’s just a general rule which is called the Pareto principle or the law of the vital few. If you closely examine your own best results, how much actual time did you spend on those?
If the 80/20 rule holds true, one valid approach would be to constantly optimize and simplify in order to re-focus all of your efforts on the 20%.
Cutting Out What is Not Vital
I know from experience that you can get caught up very easily in the habit of working on just what is on front of you. But sometimes you need to take a step back and fire up the question: Is what I am doing right now really making progress for me?
And if the answer is „No“, maybe finish what you did and then start re-structuring your work-life to slowly focus on only the 20% that make a difference. This let’s you work faster indirectly by removing tasks which are not distributing a lot to your overall success.
5 Ways to Work Faster at Your Priorities
But assuming you’ve gone through that time-management process and focus only on your absolute top 20% priorities, you still can struggle with your available time. So how can you work faster and be still effective without adding to your stress-level?
1. Outsource and Delegate
If you can outsource tasks which a) others can do better or b) you just don’t want to do and are slow getting results, then just do it. Time is money is a phrase but it is true when it comes to your working power. Of course, tasks you outsource and delegate tend to be not necessarily your most important tasks so this is leaning towards what I said before with the 80/20 rule. Or you just found people who are better at this task than you are.
2. Raise Your Own Expectations and Practice
If I have written 2 posts for this website before, I’m now writing 2 plus 2 for other sites, plus I’m writing on a bigger project. This is a lot of writing. So I raised my goals from 2 to 4 posts a week. And I also got better at writing just by practicing more and more. The more you practice the easier it gets, you build positive momentum and by that getting better and faster.
3. Avoid Getting Side-Tracked at All Costs
If you are constantly interrupted and lose focus on what you do, you have to adjust your working environment. It’s pure poison for your effectiveness and for you producing results fast. Sometimes there is also the deadly habit of procrastination, so find out what is blocking you to stop procrastination.
4. Add Raw Speed by Getting Into the Zone
The Zone means being in flow and working at maximum efficiency. This needs continuous focus and time to get there. But the reward is not only an outstanding result but also a great experience while doing it. Usually you are really happy afterwards so take some effort to get into the zone.
5. Stop Thinking, Start Doing
For me this is the #1 tip do to. And some point you have to stop strategizing and thinking about how, what, when and why and just get your head down and do it. It can be amazing how much you can do when you stop questioning and just do. Coming back to point 3 from above, it’s just keeps you busy and avoids you getting side-tracked.
So to end this post kinda corny: Just do it!
I most definitely agree with #4 – getting into the zone, or flow. Here’s a tip that I use to help me get into a flow – set a timer with the amount of time you think it’ll take you to finish the task, but don’t give yourself too much extra time – be realistic. By setting a timer to ‚beat the clock‘, your mind starts to focus so much on the task at hand because it doesn’t want to run out of time that you end up getting into a „flow“ – now use this to get other tasks done.
– Kyle Sherwood
I’m the most productive if I just take my head down and focus on just my work. No distractions and force myself to just do it seems to work wonders. Good post!