A huge gulf lies between busyness and productivity. You learn and implement tons of time management techniques, but they don't work because you don't know how to manage your energy.
To work and live better, you need to say goodbye to energy-consuming habits preventing you from productivity and success.
Stop doing these seven things now to save energy for more efficient work.
1. Stop working
Working hard and focused too much, you lock your brain and block it from inspiration and reflection. The result is that you spend energy on finding solutions, which has nothing in common with success: you feel exhausted, frustrated, and still hitting a plateau.
To change that, walk away from your work once in a while.
Spend some time alone. The Harvard study proves that a certain amount of solitude makes us more capable, as it's good for both brain and spirit. People often find solutions when they don't search for them, and it's the power of lonely as it stands.
Second, the skill of delegating tasks is among must-haves for every professional manager.
And third, seeking help when needed is not about your laziness or inability to work hard. Instead of wasting time on trying to figure out something you don't understand, let your team help you - set up a shared inbox if you're looking to delegate tasks quickly.
Delegate tasks to avoid burnouts and procrastination.
How I did it. When snowed under tons of freelance writing projects, I saved time by delegating topics research and articles outlines to writers from Bid4Papers.com.
3. Stop seeking perfection
What is the #1 reason for your procrastination?
You are waiting for the perfect moment to come. The result is that you end up missing it.
Or, you are a perfectionist wanting everything to look ideal. The result is that you:
miss the big picture because you focus on small things, and
spend more time on the task than it's required.
The paradox is, increased perfectionism equals decreased productivity. Dr. Simon Sherry from Dalhousie University found a correlation between these two, which led to procrastination.
In business, if you've picked the perfect moment, it means you are late.
So, stop seeking for it. Do it now.
How I did it. After reading S.U.M.O by McGee Paul, I've changed my mind about how a perfect text should look like. Now I don't sit and wait for inspiration to start writing. I write. And make my writings better by ruthless editing.
4. Stop working overtime
The more you work, the less productive you become. Henry Ford had noticed it in 1926 when conducted experiments with decreasing daily working hours.
A hundred years later, you continue sacrificing rest and sleep in hopes to pack a lot.
Don't do that.
To maintain a high level of productivity, make sure you sleep and have enough energy to deal with tasks. Sleep is essential to mental health, and it's your cure for stresses, depression at work, and productivity loss.
How I did it. I stopped working after 8pm. I tried a 90/20 rule by Tony Schwartz and then changed it for Pomodoro technique to control my schedule and avoid overworking.
5. Stop going with the flow
How often do you implement strategies or follow some schedule without asking why it works or why it's a perfect time to do it right now?
You go with the flow. As well as many others, you don't ask how to optimize work, how to measure its effectiveness, or how to simplify the process.
All you do is... guessing.
It's within your power to reach your maximum potential. Start measuring everything you do: armed with the data, you will know what works best and what you can do to optimize your work and life.
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.” — Warren Buffett.
Isn't it a reason why many consider successful people egoistic bastards?
We say yes too often. Why? It's easier than saying no.
We don't want to be bad guys, after all.
Do you remember the Pareto Principle? To make it work, focus on that 20% of efforts producing 80% of the results rather than say yes to 80% of tasks bringing almost no result.
For that, avoid activities that don’t add value into your life.
How I did it. I worked on gaining the state of flow. No one can distract me when I am in it. Plus, I followed the strategy of Ric Edelman that helped to minimize interruptions. He described it as follows:
"When a staff member comes in and says, "Hey, I need such and such," I say, "Great. Let's talk about it the day after tomorrow." Guess what? The odds are high that I will never see them again on that matter because the problem will vaporize on its own. They discover that they didn't need my help at all."
What does it mean? Try saying “yes, but later”.
7. Stop doing the same old same old every day
The more time you spend on repetitive tasks daily, the less productive you become.
Wouldn't it be better to automate them?
The problem is, people often forget that time is money. They are ready to do repetitive tasks over and over again because it's easy. It doesn't require much research and efforts, but it chews up time they could spend more efficiently.
Every time you do the same tasks more than five times repetitively, ask yourself if you could use some tool or service to automate them. Dozens of resources are available online to help you manage time and automate your working process, and all you need to do is choose those meeting your business needs.
If you can't find them alone, hire experts to help you. Yes, it might cost you money, but your enhanced productivity and successful work are worth it.
How I did it. I automated social media publishing with Buffer, organized my writing ideas with CoSchedule, saved time on proofreading with Grammarly, and automated email newsletters with GetResponse.
We all want to work and live better. Looking for a magic bullet that would help, we peruse dozens of blogs, read hundreds of articles, and examine thousands of tips to make the ultimate list of those working best.
You've just read another seven tips. Does any of them look promising?
To make them work, stop considering them a magic bullet that saves from routine and turns you into a superman. Stop seeking for perfection, stop overworking, let others help you – and the positive result won't be long in coming.