You have a lot to do and very little time in which to do it, right? You are not alone. It seems to be a revolving conversation I have with my clients and other professionals I meet on a daily basis.
If you’re like me and most I meet, you compartmentalize your life. You separate tasks according to the role you play while you complete the task. Work task, household task, family task. Everything has its own slot on our schedule. While we do live in a technology-driven world and the advent of certain gadgets has freed us up from certain tasks, we sure do excel at filling that time with new tasks.
There is only so much work time, and there never seems to be enough time to complete all of the household work (you know, the really fun stuff such as laundry, dishes, scrubbing that pan from dinner, and so on) and your work. Forget about trying to squeeze a day off in there or family and personal time.
But, getting things done isn’t about the number of gadgets we own or even how long we have to complete our tasks. No. It’s really all about efficiency.
According to Dictionary.com, efficient is an adjective used to characterize someone or something as performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort. Is that you? Are you efficient? Do you perform or function in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort?
I don’t know you, but I know me. And I don’t like to waste time or energy. We all have 24 hours every single day, and I prefer to spend a solid 8 of those hours having a meaningful conversation with my pillow (it’s a great listener!). So, that leaves me with 16 hours every day to accomplish everything I need to do.
How can we make the most of our 16 hours and effort every day? How can we be efficient?
So, how efficient are you? How do you perform or function in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort?
If that thought has you scrambling to think about ways to become more efficient, here are a few tips.
Use A Calendar
Whether it’s paper or electronic, a calendar is a useful tool in being efficient. Notice I used a calendar, not calendars. Don’t have multiple calendars and planners. Not only will this cause confusion, you’re also losing time keeping multiple calendars up to date and accurate with your engagements.
Meld your work life, family life, and personal life together into one calendar. Do it! You won’t be sorry as you try to plan your life.
Make it simple to know what’s happening at a glance. Color-code your appointments to designate work, family, and personal. Also, choose a calendar that you can easily access. If you can’t take it with you easily, then that may not be the solution for you.
A calendar that I use that can be shared with your team, family, or both is Cozi. Check it out. Your team and family can download the app to their mobile devices. So, if you share your calendar with them, they can access it to see what’s happening. And you can share events with them, and they can share their events with you.
There are many options out there for you to choose from. Do a little research.
Don’t forget about planners, either. Having a paper version to take with you an keep nearby might be the exact low-tech solution you need. Anything is definitely better than nothing.
After you get in the habit of putting all your appointments on one calendar, start blocking out time for activities on the same calendar. Instead of saying, I’ll do XYZ when I have time, make time. Block time out on the calendar so you get around to it sooner rather than later.
If you have projects you want to tackle, add time blocks to work on it. Don’t try to accomplish everything in one week. Be realistic about what you put on your calendar, when you put it on there, and the amount of time you give yourself.
If you have children, block out time for their activities on your calendar. This way, you will know where they are, when they need to be there, how long they are there, and if it’s practical to do something while they are there. If your children are old enough to be left at softball practice, take your grocery list with you and shop without your kids (it will probably help your bill total, too). Or if you are trying to finish a project that’s mobile (crocheting an afghan, for example), take it to softball practice with you. If you have been meaning to catch up with another parent, take a lawn chair and water bottle with you, and email them to do the same!
Whenever possible, work in a cloud so you can take your files with you anywhere. Use Google Docs, for example, to collaborate and coordinate on team efforts. Keep track of information in Google Sheets to have on hand wherever you go.
Many mobile devices respond to voice commands. Compose an email while you take a walk. Send your virtual assistance an updated list of tasks through a voice memo.
Use what you have. Every little bit helps.
Ultimately, it may be time to up your efficiency by hiring a virtual assistant. Imagine how much you’ll get done with an assistant to take care of the day-to-day tasks such as updating your contact list, sending invoices, making notes on client information, updating your calendar, and more.
Signature Virtual Assistance is a full-service virtual assistance firm, helping businesses like yours with virtually every need. Business owners and entrepreneurs choose Signature Virtual Assistance to free up their time, reduce their stress, and accelerate their business growth. Contact Lorie today.