automationPerhaps you were not able to be as you productive as you wished in 2013. You may have had several reasons for this and maybe, lack of time was one of them. You cannot do much about the past but you can turn a new leaf and make 2014 more productive for you.

Here are some pointers on how you can achieve this:

Appreciate the value of time. Always remember that saving time is much better than saving money in a bank. Money you spend or lose can be recovered but time you lose or waste is gone forever…and time is money.

Consider outsourcing. This is especially true when you are running a business. Although cost efficientmost tasks are essential to your business, some can be done efficiently and more cost effectively. You can hire a qualified assistant to do the routine but time-intensive tasks like data entry, attending to business calls and correspondence, updating websites, etc. There are many outsourcing companies in the internet to help you out in this area like Mr. Outsource. By letting go of your personal attention to these tasks, you can devote your time to more important phase of your business and be more productive.

flowAnalyse each task. Study every task you do daily. See what are important to your professional or personal life in term of the value you get from them. Calculate the amount of time you spend in their accomplishment. Based on these factors, prioritize each task in your work plan for the day accordingly.

By carefully analysing each task, you may realized that some need so much time but give less result; or some tasks can be delegated to others; and others can be dispensed with altogether.  Constant or too much action does not always mean actual working. Some are just excuses to cover up procrastination or laziness which are time-wasters and counter-productive.

Keep tab of every minute you use. Be a miser of time just as some are misers of money. Time is equal to money in terms of the returns you derive from them. Actually, time should be guarded more closely than money since it can never be recovered once it is lost. You can   monitor your time carefully by coming up with a workable time-management program.

Define your daily time-wasters. Some are easily recognizable such as the social media, internets, TV shows, newspapers, and social calls. You can set definite time in your day for them. However, you may not recognize that the following can also waste your time:

  • Co-workers: They can be causes for distraction if they intrude into your office while you are busy at work, either to ask for favours or for a small office gossip. The best way to discourage them is to hang a “Do Not Disturb” outside your door or by your computer screen. Learn to say “No” to those who ask for favours and disturb you frequently from your work. You may also put on headphones and pretend you do not hear them.
  • Loud voices: Sound-proof your ears with a pair of headphones. You may be more direct and simply request the people around you to lower their voices or tactfully ask them to do their socializing somewhere else. At home, one option is to schedule your work when everybody has gone to bed or are busy with their homework.
  • Your desk:  Organize your desk regularly. File away properly all the loose papers and documents at the end of the day so they are easily accessible in the morning. Use the “inbox” and “outbox” the way they are meant to be used.  They are good instant document organizers.
  • Your chair: Make sure it offers a comfortable lumbar support. It should not be too rigid or too soft to avoid backaches or feel very relaxed that makes you sleepy. Keep it properly oiled to avoid being distracted by the squeezing sound with every movement you make.
  • Your window: Looking outside your window is refreshing and energizing but it can also be distracting.  The view outside may be too engrossing that it disrupts your line of thoughts. Just try to raise your focus higher than the street level or look up on the empty sky. Then draw the curtain down after a few minutes of rest. A good set of blinds can also be an option.
  • Your air conditioning unit: Keep an ideal temperature setting (about 22-25 Celsius or 72-77 Fahrenheit). Stay some distance away from the unit.  The continuous humming sound from the unit may distract or induce you to sleep.
  • Your lighting: Having optimal reading light will help you maintain the health of your eyes. Ensure that the type of light you use, the angle of the light fixture, and the brightness of the light allow you to read without straining your eyes. Incorrect lighting or strong glare can give you headaches, tiredness and sore eyes. Control of the proper lighting is important for a comfortable and healthy working environment.

2014Managing your time is also managing your life. In case lack of time was among the reasons for losing out in your productivity last year, should improve considerably in this area if you follow these time-management tips for 2014.  Good luck!