How To Get Out Of Work Earlier
Posted on 26 Dec, 2014
You'd like to get ahead at work. And you'd also like to have a life... and your eight hours of sleep. But there just aren’t enough hours in the day for everything.
Many of us cling to this belief: that if we get good and far enough in our career, it will be smooth sailing smooth from then on. So we blaze that trail. And we get obsessed with our work. But what we really should be getting obsessed about is our efficiency at work.
To help bust you out of the office you on time, we’ve put together a simple list of things that you could implement this very next minute. The choice is yours.
1. Pick Up The Phone
Many of us spend hours each day writing emails back and forth when a 2-minute phone call could have done the job. Each time you are about to write an email, ask yourself this: What would Richard Branson do?
Do you think he would be sitting there for minutes on end crafting an email, or would he be in a verbal discussion with that person?
2. Compress Your Time
How long do you have to wait when you bring your car in to get all the tires changed? Long enough for you to get a coffee and skim through the papers end to end?
The F-1 Redbull team does it in under 2 seconds. [Watch the video]
Each week, look at one thing that you’d like to do faster and better. With proper focus, the right technology, careful planning and the right team, your work too can be amazing, exciting and challenging.
3. Chunk Your Time
A great technique to help you stay focused is to break your tasks up into 25 minute blocks of time. At the end of each block, take a five minute break. That would be two blocks per hour.
By doing it this way, you will be less distracted by other things because you’re trying to get your tasks done under the 25 minutes.
4. Adjust To Your Energy Cycles
In general, the hours between 9 and 12 in the morning are best for making decisions. This block of time is great for planning, writing proposals, and problem solving.
After lunch, usually around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, you start to get sleepy. So it’s best to do something active, maybe get into a work discussion with someone. When you regain your energy at 3, jump right back into it. This time of day might be good for the mundane things that have to be done so it doesn’t pile up.
5. Be An Early Riser
The most work gets done when the rest of the world is not yet awake to demand your attention. Successful people often get more done by 8 am than most people would in a day.
6. Design Your Week
When you lay all your cards on the table, it’s easier to shuffle things around so they get done in the quickest and most efficient manner. Also, resist the urge to jump straight into work the minute you enter the office. Plan each day before you push off the blocks. Each minute of planning saves you 10 minutes of back pedaling.
7. Find The Technology You Need
Each week, invest some time in finding new technologies that will make your work easier the next week. With each passing week, you will have better time efficiency and your outlook at work will gradually become brighter rather than gloomier.
8. Stop Multi-tasking
Alternating between tasks eats up time because it takes time for you to get reoriented to the task you were taken away from. When you give you full focus to a single task, you will not only produce a better end result, but you will accomplish each individual task faster.
9. Invest Time To Train
Take time to properly train the people who will be working for you. The more you do this, and the sooner you do it, the faster you will reap the time benefits.
10. Turn Off Your Apps
Success is 3% inspiration, and 97% avoiding the internet. One of the greatest modern day distractions are internet and message alerts in the form of a chime or flashing icon. You may choose to ignore the alert at first, but it will keep eating at you; I wonder who it’s from, what if it’s important, what if it’s an emergency. So you click on it. And what you thought would be a 2-second soothing of your curiosity turns into a half hour tumble down the rabbit hole.
Each day, set aside a couple of distraction-free hours to really get in the zone to get things done. At midday and at the end of the day, do a half hour blitz on all the messages you received.
11. Have A Leaving Time
Most of us have a time we have to be at work, but only a few of us have a leaving time. When you set a leaving time for yourself, you will find that you will naturally become more motivated, focused and productive.
It is like the day before you go on vacation. You end up getting a whole lot more done, simply because you know you absolutely have got to be out of there by a certain time.
The best way to implement this strategy for yourself it to set an alert on your phone an hour before your leaving time. That way you know when to start wrapping up.
12. Don’t Be The Person Who’s Always Available
In an ideal world, having an open-door-always-here-if-you-need-me policy is a good thing. But in the real world, that system tends to get abused. Yes, keep an open door, but let it be known that when your door is closed you are not to be disturbed.
You can also establish for yourself other de facto “Do not disturb” signals; like putting your game face on, or slipping on a pair of headphones.
13.Let It Go To Voice Mail
Often times, it’s to your advantage to let calls go to voice mail. Based on the messages you receive, you can decide which are worth your time and need to be dealt with right away. It also allows you to be fully informed when you make that return call.
14. Focus On What You’re Good At
Many of us try to do everything in hopes of one day turning our weaknesses into strengths. That works out nicely in some situations, but may not always be the smartest approach. Know thyself. Do a Self-SWOT. Study of your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
We have to accept that we are all naturals at certain things. If there is another who can do a task more easily, speedily and joyfully than you can, have them do it. Team work is not for everyone to be able to do equal amounts of the same thing. It is for each person to compensate for the lack in the other while maximizing their own skills.
If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it. – Toni Morrison
15.Rush Through The Things You Don’t Like To Do
This is an extension to the point above. If you dedicate lots of time doing a great job on the things you are not good at doing, chances are, they’ll have you do more of that stuff in the future. You can’t be perfect at everything. Become known as a specialist in certain things… the right things, and you will be able to wrap your day up faster.
16. Don’t Prioritize The Most Urgent Things
Tired of fighting the same fires over and over? Prioritize the most important things instead fo the most urgent ones.
List all the problems you are facing on a single sheet of paper, and tackle the one that makes you most inefficient. It is said that tackling the top 20% of your inefficiencies will cure the remaining 80%.
17. Don't Squeeze In That One Last Little Thing
You’re on the final stretch, 10 more minutes to clock out time. You jump into a 10-minute task, but it turns out to not be 10 minutes. Sound familiar?
You have to learn to let some work go. Do it to avoid making tired mistakes. Do it for your health and tomorrow’s productivity.
Instead, use that 10 minutes to plan for tomorrow. Or use that time to go to the restroom before your long ride home.
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