Be intentional versus reactive.
In 2022, it’s all about optimizing your time so you can focus on being more intentional versus reactive. And before you click out, no, this is not another article about ramping up your productivity. We all know how that can be a trap, this is more about efficiency, so you can focus your energy on the things and people that nourish your soul, and dare we say it, achieve some kind of “balance” or homeostasis. Yes, this is the year of doing more of what you love, and that means finding creative tips to save time so you can do just that.
To do this, however, it’s also super important that your weeks are dialed in and efficient. If you’re looking for time-saving hacks to swing the pendulum back to 30% work and 70% play too, then here are the 10 hacks that will save your time during the week and let us know if they work for you too.
#1: Review your calendar every Friday for the week ahead.
Take an assessment of what’s been added to your calendar and edit away. Are there meetings that could be an email? Are my workouts scheduled? Did I give myself space for a lunch break? Can any meetings be combined or deleted altogether? It never fails, every week you’ll be able to go into your calendar and shift things around so you can have intentional-time only blocked.
Pro-Tip: Make a bold request with your teammates that if anyone needs to cancel a meeting, they do so within 24 hours (unless there’s an emergency) so you can re-org my day.
#2: Turn off all phone notifications.
You can have your notifications silenced at 8 pm so you’re not glued to your phone all evening. So, you can have a full day and focus. We’re pretty sure we are all quick to get distracted by a rogue text message and 30 minutes later lost valuable work and focus time. This will save you so much time and will allow you to focus on work and be fully present on calls verus getting involved with side chats.
#3: Schedule in-person meeting stacks.
It takes a good amount of time to get ready, and travel to and from any location, and since we are all about efficiency, meeting in stacks is more beneficial for everyone. This means, not only schedule your in-person meetings on the same day but at the same location. Give myself a good 30 minutes in between meetings to catch up on any work emails or messages, and roll right into the next one. Bonus, this will save you an outfit for the week.
#4: Implement a “no meeting Fridays” policy.
We’re not saying don’t work on Friday, but we’re just advocating for your Fridays to be free of meetings and for you to instead have space to finish up your week and get ready for the next so Monday isn’t complete chaos. Can we also do away with any kind of Friday or EOW (end of week) deadline? Thursday at the latest, right? Leaving Friday’s open has been a game-changer for feeling prepared for the week ahead.
#5: Set intentional time blocks.
Once you start to carve out intentional time to work on specific projects or work on general personal to-do’s (ie: make doctor’s appointments), you’ll start to feel less rushed or reactive and more fulfilled. Based on any specific project or deadline, give myself 30 minutes 2-3 times a week to work on that project so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and it also gives me space and time in between to allow my mind to think about it more versus hammering it all out in two hours. For example, every Monday, set aside a 20-minute block to look at my bank, credit card, and savings info and take inventory. Every Wednesday, set aside a 30-minute block for your work expense report. Nothing sucks more than spending two hours on an expense report on a Friday because you’ve waited too long to do it.
Pro-Tip: You’ll find that blocking time for creativity is hard and feels forced, so leave time-blocking for operational work and find most of your inspiration in the white space.
#6: Consider task-pairing.
Task-pairing looks like taking a call while walking the trail, or meeting a friend for a workout (friend hangs are not tasks for me, but this does allow me to check two boxes). This isn’t the best option if you need to be present for a task, ie. presenting in a meeting but you’d be surprised what’s possible when you start to combine two tasks seamlessly.
#7: Order your groceries online.
This is nothing new, but you’ll be so stoked for the amount of time you’ve saved by ordering your groceries, especially during busy weeks. You can also give meal delivery service a try to make the first few weeks of the New Year easy on your heavy-deadline schedule.
#8: Identify your non-negotiables.
Setting a few strong boundaries will keep you focused and on track to get the important things done first. The hardest habit to break will probably be the “no social media.” Clock your usage one morning and see how long you’re responding to DM’s and scrolling before you walk out the door to work out or head to work. Those are precious moments you could’ve used to meditate or get an earlier start. Setting some non-negotiables will set you up for success.
PS: Has anyone ditched social media altogether for the weekends or a set day?
#9: Have a weekly review.
It’s highly suggested doing an end-of-week review of everything you’ve done at a 10k view. This helps review and define what you’re working on. In just one week, we promise your will be able to see both big wins in work and opportunities for even more space to create.
#10: Respond to emails at a specific time.
Personally, I used to be a quick responder, to emails, texts, you name it. But recently, I’ve been overwhelmed by emails and messages so it’s been a hassle to try and respond to everyone unless it’s someone or something important that I need to reply back right away. If you see something come through whether it’s a text or email, it’s typical that you don’t like to sit on it, which is why turning off notifications is always helpful. Instead of being reactive with emails, carve out two times of your day to respond (in the most ideal day). Normally, the optimal time would be before your first meeting of the day and the second before you wrap up the day. This will pull you out of your phone mail app and desktop and into the work and projects that need to be done.
What methods do you use to stay focus?