A day has 24 hours, no matter how hard we try to avoid it.Sydney Axelrod
I don’t have enough time to do all that I want; to have CogitActive back on track, in particular. Do the math: 24 hours minus a full-time job (including commuting) and there is not much left. Things only get more complicated when you have to deal with the “one-man staff” issue (see The Who and the When). And what about the already far too limited time with my loved ones? Getting it all done – CogitActive, full-time job, and being a good dad – is not impossible, but – as already stated – it should not be at the cost of quality! So, how to make the most of my time?
According to wikiHow, which has a dedicated article1 on the matter,
finding a way to balance [time for self, work, and others] can help you maintain individual fulfillment, financial stability, and connectivity with the world around you. In keeping with this arrangement, the article is divided into the following three methods:
Finding time for self
Although I would like to have some “me” time, this is not my current priority. Nonetheless, I thought I could find in this article some way to cut – if possible – my “me” time even further; if only to use this extra time to work on CogitActive.
The seven tips listed here were:
- Plan your days in advance
- Meditate on what you hope to accomplish
- Nail down the little tasks sooner rather than later
- Be comfortable with alone time
- Ingest some of your favorite media
- Take time to complete the daily goal that you meditated on
- Get to bed at a reasonable hour
None of them fits with my expectation (i.e. to save time) because this article was about the exact opposite; yet, going through it made me realize that having some quality “me” time (back) in my daily schedule would help me to be more productive the rest of the day.
Everyone needs some time to cool off, and you’ll find yourself refreshed if you take this time.Sydney Axelrod
Finding time for work
There were some common-sense pieces of advice (e.g.
sleeping enough to operate at your highest level of efficiency), along with things I am already doing (e.g.
listen to a podcast [during your commute]), but nothing groundbreaking. For instance, while I do not question the benefice of such practice, how can
keep smiling and listening throughout the day help me save some time?
The only exception was to
eliminate potential distractions from your workplace. I have to admit that I have recognized myself in these words:
Even if you do have some downtime at work, don’t fall back on these distractions. If these forces stop you from completing your work, you’ll regret it at the end of your work day.Sydney Axelrod
Finding time for others
This was my last hope. Maybe, reading this article would not be such a waste of time if I could find a way to find extra time for my family. There was none!
vs. Saving time
In fact, there are (too) many articles on this topic. However, after reading a few of them, I realized that they all say pretty much the same things. Here are a few recommendations I thought would be relevant – and worth sharing – for my situation, beyond the classic one of making a daily (and weekly) to-do list.
Create your list at the end of each day for the next day — this allows you to attack the tasks as soon as your start your day.Jonathan Long
The first one – while not a method to save time per se – was to keep track of my time. Doing so for a week (or even just a day) should allow me to evaluate whether I spend my time wisely and to identify time-wasters, in particular.
A recurrent advice was to
do one thing at a time2. Contrary to what one might think, multitasking decreases productivity (rather than the opposite) because you are switching from one task to another – constantly – and you lose a lot of focus in the process. In keeping with this idea, I should
relearn how to focus3; a topic I will cover in a future post.
Another good advice I should follow is to
finish what’s almost done2. Indeed, when you resume a task (the following day or, worse, after a longer interval), you must get out all your stuff again, review what you already accomplished, and remember what should be done next (if you did not write it down). It’s a complete time-waster.
Among other tips, one may prove effective: to
amp up your downtime2. Specifically, the idea is to use any unoccupied time to your advantage. I can indeed improve on this one by having my shortest daily tasks ready for these periods.
Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.Lord Chesterfield
Although I don’t question the fact that these techniques will help me to make the most of every hour, I still need a better way to maximize my time.
Next week: Time management
1 Sydney Axelrod (2021) How to Find Time. WikiHow. ^
2 Shundalyn Allen (2017) 10 Ways to Save Time Every Day That Most People Ignore. Grammarly. ^
3 Susan Ward (2019) How to Save Time in Daily Life. The Balance Small Business. ^