In part two of our series on ‘Finding Time,’ I’m going to talk about finding small inefficiencies. Why? It’s far easier to make small changes vs large sweeping ones. At the same time, research also shows you are far more likely to adopt these small changes as long term habits.
If you missed part one about auditing your time, go back and read that one here.
Believe it or not, my first declared major when I went to the University of Florida was electrical engineering. I’m fascinated with electronics, numbers, and how things work. That has actually served me well when it comes to writing workouts from a science perspective – it feeds the need of the left side of my brain. While I went a different direction, I find the tendencies (neuroses?) of order, logic, and a sprinkle of OCD are still alive and kicking in my every day life. I am in a constant state of “how can I do this task with one less step.” No, I’m not looking for a hack or shortcut. When I say ‘one less step’, I mean that literally. For example: I count the number of steps I take in my morning routine and see if there is a more efficient way to walk through the kitchen to use less steps. Yes, this is the sort of crazy that my wife has put up with through 12 years of marriage!
In the first post of this series, we spent time auditing how we spent our time. Now it’s time to see where we are being inefficient. Do this:
1. Look back at your time log you did after the first post. What activity/task are you repeating multiple times throughout the day or even on a weekly basis?
Some examples: answering texts and emails, going to the grocery store, doing the dishes or laundry, reading a book, etc.
2. Ask yourself – can I set aside time to knock out all of my emails/texts twice a day? Or maybe you do all your house cleaning and dishes at one time?
This is called time blocking or chunking; you create specific time blocks in your daily/weekly calendar for completing groups of similar tasks together and complete them all at one time. This allows your brain and body to operate most efficiently. Studies have actually shown the ill effects of being interrupted while doing something as simple as writing an email. For instance, instead of going to the grocery store every day, take the time to plan out what you need for the week and go once (maybe twice) and get it all at once. It’ll save a ton of time AND headache from constantly getting in and out of the car to go back and forth.
Worth mentioning: I know this doesn’t work with everything…you can’t chunk all your driving to work for the week into one day. Similarly, you can’t get all the gym sessions for a week done in one day. (Having a place to go, like CFG, sure saves a ton of time for those that live in the FishHawk community!)
3. Pick one thing from your list and commit to giving it a shot for a week!
This next tip could actually fit into our closing post that we’ll release after this one, but I really wanted to bring it up here. A big way you can immediately jump onto the efficiency train is by cutting out distractions. We touched on the idea behind this in the first post, but its worth repeating – you CANNOT multitask. Getting this across to people matters so much to me that I’ll share another great blog about it here.
My favorite line: “Each task switch might waste only 1/10th of a second, but if you do a lot of switching in a day it can add up to a loss of 40% of your productivity.” WOW – talk about finding small inefficiencies in how we use our time!
Here’s a couple ways that I make sure to maintain singular focus and block out distractions:
When I am at home writing a new blog, my phone is on silent and I turn off all notifications on my computer so I don’t watch the red notifications pile up, asking for my immediate attention. Same when I do a conference call with a gym owner in New Zealand – at that moment, nothing else matters. And when I’m done with work for the night and spending time with the family, my phone receives zero attention.
Stay tuned for part 3 where I bring this to a conclusion by teaching you what to say ‘no’ to!