A time management exercise that makes you more efficient and productive does not have to be elaborate or complex. It can be as simple as being sure to think out all steps in the process – and plan them out.
One of the most critical ways thinking about time management has grown over the years – and helped optimize time for millions of people – is by learning how important it is to think about tasks and projects in terms of processes.
Let me illustrate this with the example of creating and selling an ebook. In the past I would stumble through the project in fits and starts, trying to get components done – and waiting until one is completed before beginning another.
As a result, there were unavoidable periods of delay and enforced waiting in between steps, while I had someone else design a cover or format the pages correctly, or I conduct some more research, or secure necessary permissions or schedule interviews with experts. All of these things caused a project to drag on for longer than necessary.
These days, since I practice this simple time management exercise, I break down the entire project into distinct processes. Then, I group them in a way that I can work on (or more frequently, delegate out) each of them depending upon my resources available at the moment – knowing that in the end, they will all fit together into a completed whole.
This prevents waste of time. Where it once took 3 to 6 months (or longer) to finish the entire project, there are times now when I can plan, create and start selling a brand new book withing 4 weeks!
You can imagine the competitive advantage this time management exercise offers, especially in a fast moving environment like the Internet. It all becomes possible because of:
- breaking down complex projects into individual processes
- planning the steps in executing each of them
- synchronizing the process with resources available
This allows tasks to be finished in the shortest time span, often at the lowest cost and with limited resources. No wasted time or money on unnecessary delays. You can maximize your efficiency by selecting the task that you are most likely to get completed at the present time, in your current state of mind and depending upon your interests and resources available at the moment.
It is not only more efficient to work in this way, it is also infinitely more enjoyable. Because you are not straight-jacketed into doing a specific task at a particular time, you have more flexibility and freedom to follow your moods and fancy (of course, within the limits or constraints of the overall project).
Other than this time management exercise, there are many other tiny things that you can tweak about your work and enjoy greater productivity boosts. To learn more of them, explore other sections of this Time Management Tao website and check out the guides on time management here.
And you can receive many time management tips by signing up to our free weekly email newsletter, the “Time Taozine“. Here’s a sample tip which teaches another simple time management exercise:
Don’t waste time while waiting in line. From banking to appointments, it’s tough to avoid waiting for someone or something. But you don’t need to just stand there and mindlessly waste your time. You can always take something to do along with you, such as a report you need to read, cell phone voice-mails to check and delete, a check book to balance, etc. This helps you take advantage of “down time” and can increase your efficiency.