The end of the year is approaching so I am looking backwards and forwards as I do every year. As I am sure many of you do too. One conclusion I have to draw from this year that I will take into the next is how I have squandered my time.
Squandered might be too strong a word, but I must say I have kicked myself over wasted time and missed opportunities. Perhaps this is familiar:
- Tinkering with social media sites with little to no payoff
- Projects started but not pushed through to completion
- Direction less surfing, tweaking and chatting
- Discussions and enthusiasm for potential opportunities that go nowhere
I don’t want to be too down, as well as wasting time I have achieved some good stuff. The important thing is not to dwell on mistakes but learn from them. So I need to plan for productivity.
The first step towards this plan is I have decided to abandon Facebook. I am afraid I have had enough of the service, it just seems a terrible waste of time and a distraction.
I’m also going to take more breaks, turn off the computer at 18:30 and not turn it on again until I start work the next morning. Being online and available practically 24-7 rather than helping me get more done, is actually hindering my productivity through loss of energy and poor sleep.
I have said before I would take regular breaks and not gone through with it. Soon I will have no excuse, we just bought a puppy who is going to need walking!
This and other common sense stuff will help, but the core of my plan will be to focus on what directly or indirectly produces results.
My action plan:
- Monitor where my time goes, plan my time better
- Trim the 20% of non-productive tasks that leach 80% of my time
- Focus on the 20% of tasks that produce 80% of revenue and results
As you can see, I am aiming to base my work around the 80-20 concept.
This 80-20 rule, or Pareto Principle, suggests that a small percentage of your effort brings most of your results, while a much smaller part of your achievement comes from where most of your time goes. Homing in on the time-draining aspects versus those productive tasks could be a quick and easy fix. It is identifying the correct targets for promotion or deletion that is the tricky part.
This is where the time log will come in. Starting today I am going to record what I do, when, for how long, and to what end. Hopefully after a few weeks of this, possibly sooner, I will know what exactly I do with my time. By the new year I will know what to cut and what to emphasize. At least, that is the plan.
I am sure there are other things we can do to make 2008 more productive than 2007, share your advice, let me know your tips, articles or links in the comments 🙂