Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Learning the Secret: Time, Energy and Increasing Productivity
I have invested some time listening to Bill Barens Time Experts program. It has been FASCINATING to say the least, and it is packed with incredible insight and knowledge on how to create more time, increase your energy and productivity. The experts he speaks with are fabulous and full of great tips. My understanding is growing immensely. I am very grateful to have this knowledge in my possession!
I would like to share with you a few tips and insights I have found very valuable and important. Implementing these suggestions in your life will increase your productivity, and also the quality of the outcome of your task.
One of the most important things to remember is to become AWARE of the energy you carry at all times. In order to attract the thing you want into your life, you must maintain your best energy in all aspects of what you are doing. What does that look like? Well, the better question would be what does that feel like? When you are in your best energy, you are feeling good. Feelings like enthusiasm, joy, love, excitement are great positive energy feelings.
Secondly,you must become PRESENT in each moment of your lives. What does that mean? It means having clarity of focus on what you are doing. To not allow yourself to get distracted, not thinking about 5 other things, all the while doing something else. When you are trying to focus on too many things, you sell yourself short because you cannot give your best energy to anything when you have broken it up into smaller pieces on all the things you are focused on. Choose one thing, work on it for a set amount of time in full focus, and when you are done, or the time you have set aside for that task is done, wrap it up and move on.
Any time you spend on anything is irrelevant, unless you brought forth the proper energy. For example: You could spend 10 hours working on writing a book. However, if during that 10 hours you were feeling frustrated with writers block, or interrupted by people, phone calls, text, e-mails, just distracted.....you might as well have been doing something else. If however, you set aside say 1 hour to put FULL focus on your project/obligation/task, commit to shutting out all distraction, only focus on that one thing, coupled with bringing a great energy of joy and enthusiasm to that task........chances are, you will get MUCH more accomplished in that 1 hour then you would have in the entire 10 hours you spent multitasking.
This applies to all areas of your life. Start getting in the habit of asking yourself, am I wasting my time, investing my time or exchanging my time?
How do we decide what task to do first? There is always so much to do. Here is a great way to begin to get into the habit of planning your day for maximum performance. Before you go to bed at night, write down 3 things you want to get done the following day, that if those were the ONLY things you accomplished you would be completely happy. When you get up in the morning, set aside 30-60 minutes to yourself, EVEN if this means having to get up earlier. It WILL be well invested time, you will see results. When you get up, visit each task you wanted work on that particular day. Notice how you feel and what your energy does when you think of each task. Choose the task that you feel the best energy about. Decide how long you are going to spend on that task(even if its only 15 minutes) and DO IT. Feel grateful and proud when your invested time is done, revisit your tasks, and choose the next one that gives you the best energy. Please note, "tasks" does not just mean work. Some of my "tasks" are: housework, times with my kids/husband, time for my personal growth/meditation, banking, groceries, etc. Complete the 3 tasks you wrote down the previous night and feel wonderful. Now everything else you accomplish is just gravy. Check in with your energy, and choose the other things you are going to do that day accordingly. Remember to set a end time to the task before you begin, even just to check in with yourself and if you need to switch tasks, take a break, or choose to continue on.
Following this system really helps to keep you present in you life, and aware of your energy. This will increase your productivity as you will get done what CAN be done right now, in this moment. I think you will find yourself actually getting MORE done then you thought you would. Stress will decrease as you will no longer have "time" to worry about things that have yet to come. You will be focused, productive, and happy.
One final important point that will really help with procrastination. NEVER think about how long it is going to take to finish a project/task. Looking at the whole project can be overwhelming, and dig up all sorts of garbage that causes us to procrastinate. Instead, each day think of "Where can I start today" Decide where you are starting and do it. Everyday, we must "start" everything we do. Know matter where you are on a task, you still have to start somewhere everyday, and you can only start where you are. Soon you will see, that the finish line comes the last time you started that day.
Do you have a large task you want to tackle. Here is another great exercise to practice to achieve maximum results in minimal time.
How to Power Your Day with a Power Hour
· CHOOSE YOUR TOP PRIORITY: Select the project or activity that will have the greatest impact on your house/organization/work etc.
· ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS: Switch off your phone, close your email software, hide newspapers, etc. (The world will survive if you are unavailable for an hour!).
· SET A TIMER FOR 50 MINUTES: Put a timer on and set it for 50 minutes. For example, if it’s 10am, set an alarm for 10:50am. This step is key, so don’t skip it!
· WORK WITH FOCUS FOR 50 MINUTES: During that 50 minute period, work only on the high-priority project you’ve selected. Do not get distracted and start working on something else. If the top priority project will take several hours, then go ahead and finish off a 50-minute chunk. Soon that's all that will be left.
· DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE: Don’t check email, don’t make phone calls, don’t get coffee, etc. Instead, get some serious work done.
· REWARD YOURSELF: When the timer goes off, take a 10 minute break, something that will refresh you. .
This is pretty simple, right? But after the Power Hour, you’ll have a major sense of accomplishment from getting a key project done (or a big piece of it done), rather than putting it off and having it hang over your head all day.
If you do a Power Hour every day, I think you’ll be amazed at what you can get done in a day and by the end of the week. When I first started doing this, I was blown away by how much more I could get done. Really getting organized and reaching your goals makes room for enjoying more time to do other things.