To stay in control of time (and yourself), start with good habits. Simple, sometimes fun, these will increase your efficiency. Objective: gain one hour per week. In the office and in your personal life.
Two out of three employees feel that they are wasting too much time at work. Sad observation made by the Easy-Panel institute for the e-commerce site Crucial.fr, in 2013. In question, often trivial interruptions, details to which we do not pay attention, but which, put end to end, are expensive in wasted minutes.
However, a few good productive habits are enough to gain an hour or more every week. Apply these tips over time, starting with the one that motivates you the most and/or seems the easiest to implement: the rest should follow.
1 – TIDY UP YOUR OFFICE
Did you know that 80% of the value of your documentation was contained in only 20% of the papers set aside? Might as well tidy up! Start at the bottom of each stack of files and adopt the vertical classification: direct to the trash! Place what is most useful near you. “Also clean up your PC desktop,” adds Laurence Einfalt, organization coach. Remove shortcuts and icons that you no longer use every week. From now on, when you search for a document, you will no longer waste time digging through the undergrowth of your computer. ”
2 – GO BACK IN TIME
Opt for back-planning: instead of scheduling your work from the beginning, plan yourselves at the stage of the expected result and fix the intermediate actions going back from the deadline to the present. With this reverse schedule, no more time wasted searching for what to do or worrying about meeting your deadlines!
3 – PREPARE YOUR “PENCIL KIT”
As a child, were you preparing your things the day before for school? “Renew this habit by physically ordering your work environment before leaving the office,” suggests Pascale Bélorgey, trainer in professional efficiency and author of The Time Management Toolbox (Dunod. Gather your documents in a folder, list the people to contact. It will condition your brain and reduce heating time the next day.
4 – REFINE YOUR TO-DO LIST
To avoid the trap of the extended list, note five tasks, no more, depending on their level of urgency. “Do not write” Dossier M. Dupont “, advises Laurence Einfalt. But specify the actions to be taken: recall this client, for example, or resume his file to see more clearly. ”To do in the morning preferably, in ten minutes maximum to attack the right foot!
5 – RISE EARLY AND EMPTY
On the other side of the Atlantic, this is one of the latest fashionable precepts: advance your alarm clock a few minutes each morning to take advantage of the benefits of the miracle morning. According to Hal Elrod, inspirer of the new early risers, these minutes gained during the night would increase efficiency, provided they are used to meditate, write, take stock of his goals, play sports or read. Richard Branson, Tim Cook, and Howard Schultz are followers of these special moments.
6 – FIND RITUALS
Like a high-level sportsman who prepares before the effort, you must condition yourself mentally. Having a coffee, creating a folder on your PC, allowing yourself three minutes of relaxation … are all possible starters. But beware of procrastination: spending twenty-five minutes tidying up your desk before turning on your computer is too much!
7 – STORE YOUR E-MAIL BOX THANKS TO THE “CAP” METHOD
Classification, Action, Trash: this classification mode will simplify your relations with your electronic messaging. Divide your emails into two categories: those that require no response but that you will need later (create a “someday maybe” folder) and those that require a response (“right away” folder). Put mercilessly in the Trash all e-mails that do not fall into one of these two categories.
Finally, take Action: respond immediately to messages that require less than two minutes to reflect (acknowledgment of receipt, confirmation of an appointment …). Schedule others at a peak time of the day. One such session per day should suffice.
Over 120 minutes: with 93 emails received and 38 written, an employee spends about two hours a day managing their messages. 205 billion emails were exchanged worldwide in 2015.
8 – FREE YOURSELF FROM MULTITASKING
Do you think that writing an email while answering the phone saves time? False! According to Earl Miller, a neurologist at MIT, the brain can only do one thing at a time. Carrying out several activities at the same time means increasing the risk of errors and, therefore, wasting time … Unless you are a fan of video games.
9 – MAINTAIN YOUR CREATIVITY WITH VIDEO GAMES
Provided they do not encroach on sleep, they would make their followers more imaginative, according to a study by the University of Michigan. Conversely, sticking to your phone or using your computer only for work inhibits inspiration. The next time your N + 1 catches you in front of Candy Crush, you have a ready argument.
10 – PREDICT THE UNEXPECTED!
In a column published on its site, the CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, revealed his rule of thumb to overbooked managers: provide boxes where nothing is … planned. “You have to book beat times in your calendar to manage emergencies,” says Gérard Rodach, coach and director of the Dalet consulting firm. And if, finally, no setback disrupts your schedule, take advantage of this time out to do what you never have time to do.