Most people work long & hard, but fail to work smart. The biggest hurdle to working smart is indecision & lack of direction. this’s because we humans have two modes of work:
Strategizing & doing. We plan & we act.
The problem is that we often try to do both of these things at the same time. One minute we’re in "go mode," the next minute we’re in "strategy mode." This not only slows us down & makes us highly inefficient, but it leads to multitasking & decision fatigue(low-quality decisions).
Multitasking also causes a 40 percent drop in efficiency. Decision fatigue depletes one's willpower. Decision fatigue also, as its name suggests, simply reduces the quality of subsequent decisions.
This dilemma can be simply resolved by dedicating a block of time to being in "strategy mode." This frees up the rest of one's time for being in "go mode." This clear division also eliminates the need for multitasking. It also quickly extinguishes the decision fatigue that saps at one's willpower & reduces the quality of one's work.
To maximize efficiency, one must simply set aside a block of time dedicated to being the general — "strategy mode." Then one can return to the battlefield as a soldier — "go mode" — free of strategy-related worries.
How to schedule your time and prioritize.
When you learn how to effectively schedule your time, you can also minimize your stress levels. Why so? Because organization comes into play. You’ll also minimize being the buzzer-beater, & you won’t cause stress to the people around you – especially those who are waiting on you. These five tips are simple but when you practice it faithfully, you can own your time.
Have a regular scheduling time.
Some people find it helpful to schedule their time on a weekly basis. Some people find it more beneficial to do monthly planning. Regardless, if you have a fair idea of how your week or month will progress, you have a better chance of getting a locked schedule.
Find your available times.
Your available time is the time when you’re willing to work. Note that allocating or consuming your hours is also dependent on the nature of your job & your professional & personal goals. If you’re eyeing to have more time to do non-work-related tasks, you might also plan your available time based on the amount of task you’re required to complete.
Schedule essential tasks within your available times.
This entirely depends on the primary metrics that your job title, scope, or responsibility requires. These are the tasks that you’re being assessed against, & the tasks that tell you, you’re doing a great job. So now you understand that essentials tasks are non-negotiable. these are expected of you & from you. If you’re a Social Media Manager, for example, a part of what constitutes your essentials tasks would be planning the monthly editorial calendar or even making sure that a post goes live based on the frequency that you set to your client.
Distinguish between essential, priority, & urgent tasks.
Essential tasks are those that you can’t relegate, defer, or avoid.
Priority tasks are those that you need to complete during the day before you can move on to your other tasks.
Urgent tasks are time-bound & need to be completed within the timeline specified.
All three types of tasks are dependent on each other because they share something in common: they’re tied to a goal. So, please recognize that while you’re planning to make sure you constantly deliver what’s expected from you, you also need to plan so that you can accurately respond to pressing matters that are unexpected.
Discover your discretionary time.
Discretionary time is the time you’ve left after factoring in your essential tasks, priority tasks, & urgent tasks. Because it’s discretionary, you can use it in your own volition. Now, one important thing that you also need to remember is that as long as you’re at work, or as long as you’re fulfilling your planned time allocation, discretionary time shouldn’t be spent for personal endeavors. Also, a good way to make use of discretionary time is to review your goals within the company, get ahead of other upcoming tasks, or even spend some time meeting with the members of your team.
Finally, what good is a schedule if you don’t analyze its effectiveness? Considering that you’ve entered items in your schedule under the three types of tasks discussed, it’s also worth analyzing if these tasks are something that you can delegate, outsource, or automate.