Time is precious. If you want to do your best work, then safeguarding the time you dedicate to that work is absolutely essential. With that in mind, here are 3 simple hacks to help you safeguard your time.
Burst working: Employees at career advice company The Muse have discovered that the most productive staff works in bursts. This means that staff switch between 52-minute bursts of focused work sprinkled with 17-minute short breaks. That’s not far off from the Pomodoro technique that many swear by. While everyone has a different chronotype and working style, discovering when, where, and how you work best tees you up for success. You can listen to your energy levels and as a result, spend your time wisely.
Smart email responding: The pandemic has upped the number of emails we’re receiving on a daily basis. More often than not though, there’s no need to reply to a particular email, yet still, we do. Learning to tame this impulse frees up a lot of time and mental energy to get those emails that actually do. Similar to burst working , you can limit both the frequency and the time you spend doing email. Instead of answering emails each time you get one, set aside 30 minutes of your workday to burst work through all the emails that need answering.
Another great hack is to become a master email “Searcher.” If you’re someone who receives a mountain of emails, use a reliable computer to do email “filing” for you that lets you find emails 41 seconds faster than when you try to dig it out from one of your fancy folder trees. With practice, you’ll cultivate an email diet that stands the test of time and helps you push your creativity to the max.
Embrace empty time: Researchers have found that we struggle to control our time and exercise good judgment on how to best spend it when we’re at our busiest level. The outcome of this is that we end up busy being busy and experience increased anxiety to boot. Enter “anti-flow.” This phrase simply translates to deliberate boredom, which is not only good for us but is critical for problem-solving. Taking some time out doesn’t curb creativity; it can catapult it. Scheduling these breaks is not a sign of weakness but a symbol of stability. Ironically, how we spend our time not working impacts how capable we are when we are working.
To get into the anti-flow, try practices like meditation, journaling, or bike riding that work to loosen up your mind.