Not enough time? Get rid of the “time thieves”!
Time thieves, time consumers, time wasters: there are so many ways to describe all the things and all the people that take up our time. So, while we definitely would never give away our credit card pin code or the keys to our house, curiously enough we give away precious minutes every day to strangers or to pointless tasks….
Now we have no intention of becoming machines of productivity: if we did have a few extra minutes they would undoubtedly be spent on a little relaxation, a cuddle or some extra sleep (what a fascinating life we lead, right?!). We went out to investigate with some time management specialists and we came back with some easy recipes to scare away the time thieves, with no further ado!
The big specialists will tell you to make a list of all the things that take up too much of your time, or that steal away your time. Perhaps you have already done this if you work for a big company?
It’s a good idea, but here’s something that is even simpler.
Recognise the external thief:
Any person who interrupts you during a useful task that you have to get done: the neighbour on the way to school when you’re already late, your colleague Andrew who comes into your office because he has nothing to do for the next 10 minutes, your mother who calls to discuss a detail about the Christmas holidays…
Solution: put off the discussion with the 123.
Hi, Sorry but I’m late / behind schedule / busy / focused!
Can I call you/ see you/ have a coffee tomorrow/ Tuesday / this evening?
Thanks. See you!
It’s simple, but we don’t dare to do it for fear of disappointing, of not being friendly… and mostly because we like being interrupted.
Yes, we do like being interrupted. It’s our brain, that lazy thing that loves to go to simple mode (for the eggheads, you can read the weighty tome by Kahneman on the subject): this works for text messages, stupid videos, 2 line news reports and facebook statuses. On average you are interrupted 3.71 times per hour… You should know that every interruption requires 20 minutes before you are concentrated again, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for concentration, does it!
Solution: before throwing your teenagers’ mobiles down the toilet, apply some simple principles to yourself.
Place your family contacts in the phone’s favourites so that your phone will only ring if the school, other half or babysitter genuinely needs to reach you while you are working.
Check your emails at specific times, and put a stop to your alerts.
Cut off all notifications from recreational apps.
Restrain your inner thief:
There’s no need to become a machine or a seasoned reader of American bloggers (although the 4 hour week by Tim Ferris is pretty tempting!) to know that you can optimise or delegate certain tasks. Stay realistic: it’s about choosing one or two things that you continue to do every week out of habit, but that give you little or no pleasure.
Here are some examples: shopping, dry cleaning, driving, homework, paperwork… Once identified, it’s up to you to delegate or alleviate, using Coorganiz to choose!
As a digital solution for outsourcing or timesaving, we can highly recommend Coorganiz of course, but we also love: homework with Solusse, water deliveries with Evian chez vous, and the Scanner pro application for filing paperwork in as much time as you need to take a photograph (open the envelope, take a picture, store it in the DropBox payments folder – the to-pay folder – drop the papers into it and do the payments and archiving once a week… no more papers piling up in the hall!)
One person in your community can help you: one less school run, or a lighter paperwork load is not to be sneezed at! Read our article about how to delegate like a boss and prune the time thieves in your eco-system. Your time is as valuable as anyone else’s.
There you go, and one last tip that we find encouraging: look at your time as your greatest asset, and choose what to do with it and with whom carefully. This could be a gift for another person, and you will give your time happily, or it could be the time you need for you, your life, your project.
Everything else can wait!
Here are some other articles that may be of interest to you: