Every sales leader we talk to these days would kill to get an extra hour back in their day. There simply isn’t enough time to get everything done. Days are filled with meetings, phone calls, customer issues, product launches, travel, and – yes – the need to meet the numbers. The truth is, the way we’re working isn’t working anymore.
If you’re like the average business professional, you spend 28 hours per week on email. It sucks you into other people’s priorities, takes over your day, and leads to distracted, suboptimal thinking. To control your addiction, set aside specific half-hour segments during the day (for example: 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.) to check and respond to your messages – then stick to it. Turn off notifications too; they only make you feel more overwhelmed.
Science has proved that while multitasking makes you feel like you’re getting lots more done, it actually takes you 20%–40% longer to finish the tasks at hand. Not only that, but you’ll likely make more mistakes — which you’ll need to fix later. Pay attention to and complete the task at hand. Your work product will be better and your brain will thank you later.
Unscheduled time evaporates into thin air. If an important task needs to get done, put it on your calendar. Figure out what specifically you need to do, and how long you think it will take you, then block out the appropriate time. Research shows that using this simple practice significantly increases the likelihood that you’ll get it done.
One of the best ways to get off to a good start each day is to know exactly what you’re going to tackle the minute you get into work. Research shows that a fresh brain thinks faster, comes up with better ideas, and is much more productive. Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to think about the most important tasks you need to accomplish the next day and schedule time to do them first.
The average worker loses 2.1 hours each day to interruptions and distractions. To gain even a portion of this back, you need to clearly set and communicate your boundaries. It’s okay to schedule time to get work done and to make it sacrosanct. Let people know you’re unavailable for certain hours. By doing so, you get into the flow of the project at hand and complete it much faster.
While all of the above strategies are common sense, they’re not common practice. That’s why they bear repeating, over and over. If you want that extra hour in the day, start by changing just one aspect of your behavior immediately. Yes, it takes a little discipline. But the payback will be well worth it.
“The truth is, the way we’re working isn’t working anymore”