- BBC World News
It is possible that more than once your workday has extended many more hours than you had planned.
Perhaps it happens to you frequently and you feel the weight of the clock on your shoulders. Why is there no more than 24 hours in the day? It’s a fairly common question at a time when workplace pressures – company-required or self-imposed – are haunting us all the time.
That’s when we enter the productivity challenge. How to get more done in less time?
Amantha Imber, founder of Australian consulting firm Inventium, dedicated to providing advice in behavioral science, has devised four strategies that can help manage time more effectively to have a better quality of life.
Over the past three years, Imber has interviewed people in all sectors of work to try to discover how we can proactively structure our days to get more out of them.
In those conversations, you’ve heard time and again that it’s unhealthy to let other people’s priorities determine your own.
“Productivity does not have to do with how many hours you work or how many pending tasks you can mark on your list,” says Imber in dialogue with BBC Mundo.
“It’s about doing what you need to do to work efficiently.”
These are four strategies that highly productive people use, according to studies conducted by Imber.
1. Align work with your “chronotype”
The “chronotype” is simply a way of referring to the biological clock. It has to do with the natural sleep-wake cycle that we travel through 24 hours a day.
Since each person has their own chronotype, it is important to determine what your highest and lowest energy moments are during the cycle.
According to Imber, about 10% of people are “alondras” they feel more energetic in the morning.
At the other end of the spectrum is the 20% of the population who are “owls” or people who do their best work at night.
Most of the population is somewhere in the middle. They usually experience a peak power before noon, a drop in energy after lunch and a second boost in the late afternoon.
Here the key is that you organize your day considering that biological clock, in such a way that the activities that demand greater concentration or that are more relevant are done in your moments of greatest energy and that you stop the most routine activities (such as answering emails, for example ) in those moments when your energy drops.
2.Plan the working day at the end of the previous day
A productive day doesn’t just happen. It requires planning. If we write down what we want to do, when and where, it is much more likely that you will achieve your goals.
An effective way to do this is write down your three priorities for the next day, that is, those things that you cannot stop doing.
The next step is to complete the list of everything to come, ideally hour by hour.
And it is also convenient to add at the end tasks that are minimal to do between meetings or in any waiting time.
At the end of the day, what helps the most is careful planning.
These are rituals related to where and when work according to the type of tasks.
By doing it consistently, your brain will associate those physical and temporal cues with those tasks. Why is time and space important?
Basically because it helps us to change the mental “switch”. For example, there are people who when they need to solve complex problems or creative challenges, they use certain routes to walk and think.
Others prefer to separate tasks between one office space and another, something that helps to break the monotony and also influences the attitude with which we approach certain challenges.
And if you work from home, it helps a lot to define what to do where in the house. Or divide the space between morning and afternoon.
The important thing is to create rituals by doing the same type of activity in the same place or at the same time.
For example, you can attend zoom meetings in the bedroom, answer emails in the living room, and concentrate on an armchair.
After practicing it for a couple of weeks, a flow will be generated that makes it easier to achieve the objectives in less time.
4. Avoid blocking your calendar 100%
A completely blocked day can give you a false sense of productivity. You will not have time to solve unforeseen events or for moments of creativity or social contact with members of your team.
If your calendar seems to always be full, deliberately schedule time to do nothing.
You can use this time as a time for unexpected tasks that come up during the day or to take a short break that can help you clear your head and continue with more energy.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.