After reading the chapter in The Four Hour Work Week about managing your time more effectively, I have decided to implement a couple of the different tactics to see if I can make my use of time more efficient and effective as opposed to just wasting time on seemingly unimportant tasks.
One of the points that Tim Ferris makes in The Four Hour Work Week (4HWW) is that if you stopped doing things during your working hours that were unimportant or that had no real effect on your actual work, you would therefore be able to get your actual work done a lot quicker and be able to take the rest of that time off Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the idea being that you could cut your work load of a normal day to by a few hours a day and get the same amount of work done if not more. His suggestion includes to stop reading newspapers, watching TV, or surfing the internet and looking on sites like Digg.
So, what am I going to do you may be asking. Another suggestion that is provided in the book is to set time limits for activities that you work on. For students, this would be say the amount of time that you spend knocking on some homework, working on a project, studying for a test, or relaxing. My method to be more productive, on top of having a to-do list, is going to be to rank the tasks by the importance and group them into different categories. Then, I will be able to dedicate certain amounts of time to each category. My to do list may look something like this then:
- Homework assignment due by Tuesday
- Homework assignment due by Friday
- Paper due by Friday
- Project research (on-going)
eBay Related Tasks
- Sort through eBay listings and update any old information
- Relist any unsold items and adjust the listings if needed
- Take care of packing any sold items
Website Design Tasks
- Complete concept design for client A
- Contact client B about starting work on project
Now if I devoted an hour each day, when needed, to knock these tasks, I would be able to easily complete everything that I needed to for that day or couple days at a time. The catch to making this technique work is eliminating all of the other distractions that you have going on Ã¢â‚¬â€œ TV, email, phone calls, instant messages, friends, etc.
If you can disconnect yourself from everything else for an hour straight and focus solely on the task at hand, you should be able to find yourself much more productive and also find that you have a lot more free time to do the things that you want to as opposed to the things that you have to. These might include spending more time with your friends, spending time with your family, traveling, enjoying your surroundings, etc.
Give this technique a shot and see if it works for you. Dedicate at least a week to making this work so that if the first couple days that you try it different things come up that you could not predict from the start, you will have more chances to plan for those distractions and eliminate them in the days following. I would love to hear how this time management technique works for some of you.
I will be sure to report back about how it works for me in a week or two!