Tuesday, 19 March 2019

5 simple techniques for making time

Making time and achieving serenity – it’s not actually as difficult as we might think!

I recently enjoyed reading the article “Time Management Hacks That Very Successful People Practice Daily” by John Rampton. It sets out proven, realistic techniques that very successful people apply in managing their time.

Famous, successful people use time management techniques that even teach us how to make time

For this blog post I’ve picked out techniques from the article that stood out for me. I’ll also, where appropriate, set out my own variations on them (as I love using some of the techniques myself):

1. Have a fixed morning routine.

Richard Branson writes: “While I’m known for being predictably unpredictable – I’m always up for an adventure and love a calculated risk – I do, however, have a morning and nightly routine. I find structure to start and finish the day helps me to focus, and achieve the things I need to.”

My own (weekday) morning routine includes: waking up relatively early; spending 10 minutes on my favourite yoga poses; having breakfast over something worthwhile to read; bathroom time and catching up on the news via my internet radio; and then diving straight into work in my (home) office.

I love this routine as it sets me up for the day. I established it after reading Laura Vanderkam’s bestselling books, “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” and “168 Hours”, a couple of years ago (which I’ve blogged about here).

2. Keep your to-do list short.

John Rampton recommends making “knockout lists” and mentions Marcus Lemonis, who works through a list of 5 things every day. Many readers of this blog will know that I prefer to be even more minimal about to-do lists: I have reduced my daily to-dos to just 3 key tasks.

Having a 3-item to-do list has worked wonderfully for me for quite some time, and it works for a lot of other people, too. I’ve found that, thanks to my minimal to-do list, I now do more of the things that I love or consider important.

3. Check your email less frequently.

Email notoriously sucks up time. John Rampton’s article makes reference to an email management technique named Yesterbox, which involves responding only to emails from the day before.

My email handling approach runs along similar lines: I have non-urgent emails directed to an email programme which I open just once per day (usually in the evening), and I reply to a lot of emails on Friday afternoon only.

Which email management techniques work best?

4. Cut down on decision fatigue.

In the course of a day, the quality of the decisions that we make becomes worse. It’s therefore advisable to generally reduce the number of our decisions from the outset, for example by creating a minimalist wardrobe (check out my 3 minimalist wardrobe principles here).

Note Barack Obama, who once famously said: “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

5. Prescribe yourself some downtime.

Both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates explain that plenty of blank spaces have been the secret to their success and time management. We all know downtime is good for us, but: how good are we at really scheduling it?

What’s more, we should enjoy work-free time more! I touched on this crucial topic a couple of times on this blog before, for example here, here and here.

Famous, successful people use time management techniques that even teach us how to make time. Some of them stand out, offering an improved approach to to-do lists, email management and downtime.