Time Management Hacks For Everyday Work & Life
Something about the end of the year pulls me in every direction. There is always the baseline anxiety of building a startup sprinkled with the added pressure of gifting, parties, and generally heightened expectations.
So in light of the end of times (okay year), here are our favorite time management hacks – which really just boil down to a mental filter for busyness which sadly doesn’t always translate to good business. Short and sweet to save you (and me) a little more time.
Embrace The Two Minute Rule
There’s no end to the advice online that will tell you to prioritize important things first. Duh. My problem has always been that important things take a long &%$* time. So I abide by the two-minute rule: if it takes two minutes, just do it.
Longer than two minutes? Add it to a low priority list to be handled later.
On that note, yes, you should make a high priority list. These are time sensitive or major projects that require your attention. You know what they are. Finish these tasks before touching the low priority list.
But how do I prioritize? Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that would happen if you didn’t do this thing. If the answer isn’t too bad, then it’s low priority.
Still not sure? Video chat with our mentors.
Give To Receive
If you can give this task to somebody else, do so. We have to give people opportunities to be gracious and step up. Not everybody is a natural helper. And not everybody will say yes. But it’s always worth trying. You know why.
“The trouble is, you think you have time.”
Check Your Intention
Do you really need to do this task? Or are you agreeing to this thing to please somebody or fear their disappointment? Or perhaps put them in your debt?
Check Their Intention
Is this an appropriate use of your time, talents, and effort?
When I was a management consultant, I happened to sit next to a very kind woman who was head of internal events. A new MBA associate moved into a cubicle near us and asked her to set up a conference call for him. She agreed in good faith.
But he took this as her willingness to set up conference calls for him…forever.
Ultimately, she had to explain to him that that was not her job. Then taught him how to do it himself. Which brings us to…
Don’t Do For Others What They Should Be Doing For Themselves
To his credit, this associate was trying to be efficient. It’s fascinating how natural it is for certain people to delegate – I want to know what their childhood was like and what mini-mogul summer camp they attended. But, in all seriousness, setting up a conference call took less than two minutes with the system the firm had in place. He should have done it himself.
And he did. Eventually.
While it was difficult for her to confront him, she did herself (and him) a great service. If you find yourself working hard and accomplishing very little, revisit these codes.
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”