The curse for many business people today is that we never seem to have enough time to do everything that needs to be done. And when we finally do get on a productivity roll, something always seems to throw us off course. According to executive coach and author Jason Womack, we could actually accomplish a lot more each day if we could learn to acknowledge when we’re done with what we’re doing.
“One of the biggest time wasters we all face is spending too much time on those things that don’t require it,” says Womack, who has written a new book entitled “Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More.” “But when you learn to recognize when you’re done with a task, you’ll have valuable minutes and maybe even hours added back into your day.”
Stop majoring in the minors. Many of us spend a great deal of time on projects and tasks that we consider easy. But that leaves us with inadequate time to complete the more difficult tasks. If you can complete the easy task quickly and efficiently, you will find you have more time in your day for bigger tasks.
Womack advises beginning your work day by distinguishing “high leverage activities” from “low leverage activities.” “For the low leverage activities, force yourself to move through them as quickly as possible. With these tasks—for example, writing an email to a colleague—perfection isn’t necessary, and there’s no need to waste time wringing your hands over every word. When you can accomplish these minor tasks more efficiently, you’ll have the time you need to do those major tasks justice.”
Don’t overwrite emails. Chances are that you spend too much time writing emails. Strive to express yourself as succinctly as possible. “Get to the point quickly and use action verbs in subject lines so that both you and the recipient know what needs to happen before the email is even opened,” suggests Womack. “And while long emails waste the time it takes you to write them, keep in mind that the person receiving the email doesn’t want to have to spend so much time reading it either.”