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Updated 29 Sep 2020

Take control – This is how you can create more time in your day

Ask anyone how they are and you are likely to hear ‘I’m so busy’, that things are ‘hectic’. People wear their “busy-ness” like a badge of honour. I’d like to challenge this thinking; we need to give ourselves time to be still and to think so that we can be creative in our work and our lives. 

Glenn van Eck, 28 August 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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We need to take back control and manage our time rather than let it manage us. Here are a few ways that you can get time back on your side:

Get up earlier 

Start slowly, by waking up just 15 minutes earlier each week. Within a month, you’ll have created an extra hour in your day. That’s an extra 15 days over the course of a year. Use this time to prioritise what needs to be done and plan the next 12 hours of your day. You may even choose to go into the office earlier – or stay later; it’s amazing how much you can achieve without any interruptions.

Related: Are we (in life and business) becoming slaves to technology?

Know how you spend your time 

Then you’ll know  how much time you waste looking for your car keys each time you leave the house or searching for the documents you need for the meeting at 10am. A good way to keep track of where the time goes is to keep a log of everything you do in a day, how much time you spent doing it and why your time was spent in this way e.g.

Monday 7:46, 5 minutes, looked for car keys because I put them in random places.

Do this for at least two weeks. That’s usually long enough to identify trends in your behaviour. Once you know how you spend your time, you can identify where time is wasted and where you are unproductive. It really is worth doing this exercise; the only way to manage a problem effectively is to understand it fully. You will be amazed at how much time was spent on things that are not a priority and therefore understand the feeling of being busy without achieving results. 

Get control

Time -management

Look for the time wasters in your log and work out how to avoid them. For example,  if you waste time looking for your car keys, find a sensible place to put them and ALWAYS put them there. This consistency should be applied to everything you own and work with. Remember the adage ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’?

Look at ways to avoid or limit unproductive time, ‘I don’t create event concepts unless I am feeling creative’. If you have scheduled time to brainstorm and create ideas, and ideas don’t start flowing within a few minutes, do something else. Don’t spend hours staring at your screen, waiting for creativity to strike.

If you have an important document to review that requires focussed attention, find a quiet room and close the door, switch your mail and phone off. The silence and lack of interruptions allows you to get the work done quickly by reading the document only once and with the focus needed not to miss anything.  

Related: The best ways to keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive in 2017

Stop multi-tasking 

Immediately. No matter how good you think you are at this, you can be more productive by focussing on a single thing at a time and, as much as possible, finishing it before moving onto the next task. Trying to focus on more than one thing causes a drop in productivity of 40%. That’s unproductive at best and can be downright dangerous. Of course, this is not pertinent to everything but should be non negotiable for the important and urgent aspects of your day.

Reward yourself 

Knowing that you have more time and that you are using it wisely, you can now allocate some time in your day to do something that you enjoy. It could be as simple as a catch up with a colleague over coffee rather than a traditional meeting, or take a walk to clear your mind. There are always 24 hours in a day. The bad news is time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot. Fly wisely.

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About the author

Glenn van Eck

Aged 20, Glenn started a gardening service in his second year of University, and sold it five years later to buy Magnetic Storm. Still at the helm, Glenn has grown a two-man disco into a full-service event and tech company with offices in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, servicing the entire country. Glenn has also invested in Chas Everitt Nelson Mandela Bay, the Electoquip franchise (now incorporated into Magnetic Storm), established Imagio Productions with Glen Meyburgh, and joined forces with his brother Shaun to form The Tourism Coach.

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