- Lose the snooze button ‘Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began’. Think of your alarm as the first appointment of the day – if you hit snooze for five minutes, you’re then five minutes late, which could set the tone of your entire day and make you five minutes late for the succession of following appointments. It’s hard to make that time up.
- Fill your tank the night before Ever found yourself annoyed at having to stop for gas without having remembered to factor it in? Evade the frustration by making a quick trip the night before.
- Live by the Two-Minute Rule A notion pioneered by productivity guru David Allen, if something is expected to take two minutes or less to complete, do it immediately; if it will take longer than two minutes, put it on your schedule. This will help you from running overtime on menial tasks and putting you behind for the rest of your day.
- Cosy up with time cushions Time cushions are pockets of extra time that, if built into your daily agenda, allow for the things that can – and always do – go wrong, or the things that take longer than expected.
Tip: Build time cushions around tasks with completion times you’re uncertain of, or that you know can be affected by other variables.
- Play host when possible Circumvent travel time and play host when possible. The only downside to playing host is the post-meeting clean up time, but providing you aren’t expecting any other guests, this task can be saved for the non-business hours of the day or delegated to someone else.
- Enlist smart technology There are apps that run in the background of your computer or phone and alert you if you’re spending too long on certain tasks. With this information, you’ll have a better understanding of how your day is spent and where you can cut timewasting and savour extra minutes.
- Use the waiting room as an office Make a point of being early to appointments and use that downtime to clear emails, catch up on news, research the person you’re about to meet with or the topic you’ll be discussing, maybe even give Gran a call. There’s always something you can do.
Tip: If you’re a forgetful type, make a list on your phone of the menial but necessary tasks you encounter on a daily basis that can be saved for waiting-room downtime.
- Keep big-picture to-do lists At the top of your daily to-do list, write a bigpicture goal of yours, like “Get a promotion” or “Save for a holiday”. A subliminal reminder to structure your day so that each and every task leads back to or supports your big-picture goal, this technique is also likely to help you achieve your goal faster.
- Treat punctuality like you treat your appearance What good is it being impeccably presented if it’s marred by tardiness? People today are time poor and no longer is dressing well a determining factor of success; we have Steve Jobbs to thank for that. They’d rather you were punctual and unfashionable than tardy and swanky.
- Give up on the idea of doing it all “Life is like a buffet. You want to eat everything, but you can’t. You only have one stomach,” says self-help author Shlomo Bregman.
By Lydia Truesdale