How to Effectively Get More Done in Less Time — Woken Living
If you had a heart attack and you can only work two hours per day, what would you do?
This is a question Tim Ferris posed in his book The 4-Hour Workweek. The sole purpose of this question is to help you get more done in less time.
When you only have two hours to work in a day, you would prioritize. You would only pick the most important task. If you cannot delegate or outsource the less important task, you could get back to it when you’re done with the very important ones.
Getting more done in less time does not mean rushing through your tasks and getting them done shabbily, it is about three major things.
- Getting more time to do the things that give you fulfillment.
You only need to understand two principles:
- The 80/20 principle — Pareto Principle
- Parkinson’s Law
How the 80/20 Principle Helps You Get More Done in Less Time
In brief, the 80/20 principle states that 80% of results come from 20% of sources, tasks, and actions. The math here is not rigid. It can be 90/10, 95/5, or even 85/15.
The point is that it is only a small fraction of your tasks that produce the majority of your results.
This principle works in several aspects.
Apple has about 27 different products and it is a trillion-dollar company. However, according to reports by Statista, in the Q1 2020, 74.75% of Apple’s total revenue came from just two sources: the iPhone (60.9%) and services (13.85%).
Look at another example.
The world has 2,153 billionaires and they hold a higher percentage of the world’s money.
The point is that if you take a critical look at your life, you will find that a lot of little things take up the bulk of your time and make you less productive.
Thus, you need to now ask this question:
What 20% of sources result in 80% of my desired outcome and happiness?
Allot more time to whatever comes out as the answer.
Also, ask this question:
What 20% of sources or things cause 80% of my unhappiness?
For your productivity’s sake, cut these off or outsource it. They are slowing you down.
Pointers to Help You Get More Done in Less Time
Break down the entire exercise or task
In writing, this process is outlining. This is where you break the work done to give it structure and remove what is not important.
Identify and focus on what is more important
What is more important should be prioritized. You should do the hardest part first.
Many times, we intentionally do the less important task so that we can push the important task later. It is procrastination.
If you want to know, ask yourself this question:
Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
If yes or maybe comes as the answer, you need to cut the fat.
Do the tough one first.
How Parkinson’s Law Can Help You Get More Done in Less Time
Parkinson’s Law in brief states that work expands to fill the time allotted.
This means that if you set 5 hours to fulfill a task, the task will find a way of expanding to fill those five hours.
Weird, but true.
Try to set 2 hours for the same task and be strict with it. You will realize that even if it spills, it will only be a little over 2 hours.
Why does this happen?
You didn’t outline or break down the task before you started
Outlining or breaking down your task saves you the time you would spend thinking about what to do next. You already know what to do next and you would get on with it. Always have an outline or a break down before you start.
As a blogger, I write in Google Docs. This means my internet is mostly on. It is easy for me to get distracted by email notifications, push notifications, social media updates, and a lot of other things. To avoid this, I turn off all notifications when I’m writing. I focus squarely on my task.
You should also try this.
If you work from home, hang a notice on your door. Turn off your phone. Commit total dedication to the task at hand.
You can time yourself to give a sense of urgency.
You’re wasteful with time
Imagine what you could do with the extra time you can get from getting more done in lesser time.
You can spend time with your partner, take some nice photography, spend time with your kid(s), and any other thing you’re interested in.
You can get this time if you’re strict with the way you allot time. Cut the time you normally spend on the task in half. See what happens.
You’re stuck in the 9–5
Many times, we have to give the illusion that we are busy. So, we fill our days with several unimportant tasks. In the 9–5 culture, the busy person who even does overtime is the ideal employee.
Well, you can start by knowing how much your job costs you. And decide if the time is worth it.
Probably you need to apply for working from home or get a new job.
Productivity Tips to Help You Get More Done for Less
Don’t have more than 2 critical tasks to complete in a day.
After doing your 80/20 analysis, you will know which 2 critical tasks to focus on in a day. And be strict with the time allotment.
Use a short to-do list
Not Outlook. It gives you a lot of room. Don’t even use computer sticky notes. Use the paper sticky notes. They are short. You only need a page a day. Write out the most important tasks to complete. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
People think multitasking makes them highly professional. No. It makes people highly unproductive.
The brain is made to focus on one thing at a time. When you continue to shift attention, your brain cannot function in full capacity in solving a problem.
Focus on one goal at a time. And face it with undivided attention.
When you are prioritizing, always ask this question:
If this is the only task I accomplish today, will I feel fulfilled?
You should answer in the positive.
If on the flipside you take on several tasks and couldn’t accomplish any, how would you feel?
Getting more done in less time is very possible. Apply the needed principles and have the extra time to spend on the people and things that you enjoy doing. You can get more done for less if you’re determined to do it.
Originally published at https://wokenliving.com on September 10, 2020.