Have you ever had a day, in which, no matter how much effort you put into finishing all you have on your list, you still have tons to do, the day is almost gone and you feel stressed and overwhelmed?
You are not alone! Most people live most of their lives in such a place. Busy being busy! Complaining they have no time, and living in reaction to everything that happens around.
It’s time to take control! We have invited an expert on the topic to share his best advice on how to increase your effectiveness and to WIN any day!
Stoyan Yankov is a productivity coach and a keynote speaker. As every achiever, he had reached a point with much more on his TO-DO list, than he could possibly get done.
So he started looking for ways to master the art of time management and productivity.
He studied the subject for years, learning from the best in the world and currently teaches companies and individuals how to be most effective in life and business.
Stoyan is another example of how keeping yourself informed on the topics that matter to you will secure you a higher exposure in your industry. As productivity is one of our core values, we at No-More contacted Stoyan to engage us in a workshop on company productivity and time management. The following is going to be a small extract of his proficiency:
I will start with the most common question that the audience keeps being curious about at my talks. People are asking me to suggest my favorite apps and softwares for time management and productivity. What I always say is that:
What you need is - a simple system. You want to have one place where you store everything you potentially would like to get done the next day. It could be as simple as an excel sheet or a paper notebook. But it’s ONE PLACE that you check consistently every day!
Our brain does not have the capacity to handle all the information it receives. Bombarded with a large volume of choices and information, it is becoming harder and harder to focus on getting the right things done. So we engage in activities with lower priority. Or procrastinate, not being able to decide which tasks to handle first. And we tell ourselves we are great at “multi-tasking”. Even though we know - “multi-tasking” does not exist. Our brain can only focus on one thing at a time.
And when you switch through tasks it kills your brain cells. Multi-tasking literally makes us dummer. But we are too addicted to distraction to admit it. You think I’m joking? How many of you wake up and the first thing you do is to check up your phone?
But can we be smarter? Can we look at the picture from above, and plan our days, by deciding which outcomes will bring us closer to where we want to be in every area of business and life?
Can we focus on being engaged in one thing at a time, so we produce results more effectively?
Planning the next day is a habit everyone can build.
It will take you from 10 to 30 minutes a day to plan and it can save you literally several hours on the next day. How good of a deal is that?
1. Capture everything you have to do
List all the tasks, activities and outcomes that you might have to do the next day (in your spreadsheet or notebook). Get creative. Come up with all the crazy ideas. Remember - we are not dedicating to doing these yet. But we want to get them out of our heads, so we have a better picture.
2. Group and define the clear outcomes
It’s difficult for our mind to prioritize when we have 20 or 30 tasks on our to-do list.
So we want to group the tasks and activities that relate to each other.
And then we have to ask ourselves:
What is the concrete outcome I want to achieve?
For example you might have a task: “Call George”
But maybe the actual outcome is to “Build a relationship with a potential long term client”
Define clear and measurable outcomes for each group.
3. Set the action-steps
Now that you know the outcomes, you can come up with better action-steps on how to get them done. And you will get rid of half of the tasks you previously have thought of doing.
You don’t need to do it all. Because now you came up with smarter and faster ways to achieve the same results.
4. Estimate time + Prioritize
Give a rough estimate of how long it takes to achieve each action-step. And try applying the Pareto rule. What are the 20% of outcomes that will contribute to the 80% results?
Could something be delegated to someone else? Remember you don’t have to DO everything yourself. You just need to have the outcomes achieved.
5. Schedule it in the calendar
Having a big and well organized list is great. But you need to dedicate exact time slots in which you will focus on producing each outcome.
Add first the commitments that you have toward others (meetings etc.) as they are already a constant. And then start adding the rest starting from the ones with highest priority.
On the next day - you already have everything in place so you can easily focus your attention to produce the results you have strategically planned, without being stressed and worried what to do first. And in case something new occurs during the day you can quick check your list of outcomes and decide whether you can switch things around. Or delegate some of your activities to someone else. So you can focus on the new thing. It’s about freedom and control.
Now you can be fully creative, get a whole bunch more done and enjoy your free time after work!
“Success is achievement and fulfillment – you want to get the things done but you also want to be happy”
For additional suggestions on how to improve productivity and time management, keep an eye on the upcoming No-more's social media updates.