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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

How to Make the Most of Your 24 Hours.


How is it that there are some people that end their day with a clean desk and time to play with their kids and go for a run while others barely make it home for dinner and then return to the computer to finish up the day's work? I would argue we could have many reasons for these scenarios but I can tell you one thing for sure if you like the idea of the first scenario I would urge you to keep reading…

We all start together, 24 hours in a day, how we choose to use that time is where it gets dicey. While many of us like to be spontaneous and gently flow throughout the day, I guarantee you that Integrating some strategically placed organization and technology may save you hours and get you home on time!

  1. Multitasking- it may be a bragging right but will not help you in the long run. Research shows multitasking has been shown to cut productivity and efficiency by 40%. Our brains are not designed to shift between multiple tasks and thus your work is subpar and takes more time. Your efficiency and focus while multitasking have been shown to be similar to having two glasses of wine. Not ideal!

    1. Focused tasking”- (my own term) Strategically plan your tasks and schedule an uninterrupted time for success.

      1. Schedule meetings for 45 minutes but book yourself for 1 hr, this allows 15 minutes to finalize notes, follow up on action items, or write a re-cap. The information is fresh in your mind and will take less time to complete. You leave your meeting with little to no “to do’s”!

      2. Schedule email time: Schedule daily times to check and return emails, communicate in "auto-response" or in your signature the times in which people can expect to hear back from you. This releases you from late-night replies or serial email checking and sets the expectation for the receiver.

      3. Utilize technology: it is difficult to focus when notifications keep alerting you to new messages/mail. Turn off notifications! We are curious by nature and hearing that seducing “ding” will hijack your focus and cause distraction. Resist the urge and turn it off!

  2. Create a space for success- Your physical space will absolutely affect productivity and energy. Does your workspace rise up to meet you? Are your supplies well stocked and the chair and desk ergonomically appropriate? Standing several times a day to restock supplies or adjust your seat interrupts creative thinking and workflow. Invest in creating a space that supports your body and mind. Calming music, Yiruma and Helen Jane Long are two of our favorite pianists, create a Pandora station and create a mellow vibe!

  3. Organize and prioritize- Without a plan, our day can get a bit unwieldy and fragmented. Spontaneity is great but not when it means three more hours in a day! Begin each day intentionally, set the big goals, prioritize the tasks, and realize that there is another day tomorrow! Enjoying the process and your colleagues is part of this plan. Work should not be something you gut through but rather it is a journey of growth, discovery, and service. It is amazing how work can feel overwhelming if we don't allow time to get it done. Sounds obvious, but by giving tasks specific times for completion you are able to free up your mental worry and stay present and focused.

  4. Mental fortitude- This refers to the intangible mental focus and intentional drive to succeed. This Forbes article spells it out nicely. You don't allow for “micro distractions”, you don’t get derailed by others' negativity, and you curb the temptation to “worry” without reason. Top performers focus on honing their craft and work forward rather than getting caught up in the net of politics and competition.

My Challenge To You:

  • Take thirty minutes to survey your workspace. What do you need for maximum efficiency? Give yourself permission to get those things. Stapler, new file folders, sticky notes?

  • How is technology distracting you? Set “do not disturb” during your scheduled email time, disable notifications, leave your phone behind when going to a meeting. At a minimum, turn it off during the meeting!

  • Bring awareness to time wasted and without judgment ask yourself what is at play. Boredom? Anxiety? Avoidance? If you are serious about working smarter and not harder you will need to be honest with your current state of working.

  • One step at a time, you've’ got this!

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