How to optimise your time like a pro

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Whether your time is stolen by too much work, too many distractions, or just sheer procrastination, even the most organised of us can do with a little help to improve not only how we manage our time, but how we structure it to squeeze the most out of every minute; after all, it’s not about working more, it’s about working smarter. Here are some tips to help you optimise your time like a professional:

1. Write down your ideas

If you’re already aware of Claudia Azula Altucher’s book Become an Idea Machine, you may already have tried this and failed. However, when things aren’t going well, or when you’re otherwise distracted is the best time to start; choose an area of your life or work, and come up with 10 ideas to improve it. If you find 10 ideas difficult, think of 20…

2. Separate your portfolio

If you’re what is known as a ‘portfolio worker’ then you may have your finger in a number of different pies; for example, you may be a copywriter, but also a branding consultant, and perhaps have to dip your toe into HR or even staff training. It can help to separate your time into dedicated days for each, otherwise you run the risk of hopping between each task and never finishing any of them.

3. Know what gets results and prioritise it

Reaching out to contacts is the best way to not only maintain client relationships with existing customers, but to build new business as well. Make those phone calls, emails, and mailshots your priority.

4. But allow the distractions

If the lure of interacting with customers on social media is pulling you away from doing the filing, then let it; diarise time for not only keeping on top of your own company social media profile, but checking on how your competitors are interacting too.

5. Hit the coffee shop

If the office walls feel like they’re closing in on you, then take your laptop outside. Sometimes work is the thing that’s blocking productivity rather than your environment, so change things up completely; go for a walk, or do other chores for a while to clear your head.

6. Identify what makes money

If you’re already a list-maker, decide on symbols to prioritise your list. If a task will bring you revenue, either now or in the future, put a currency symbol beside it; those are your most important tasks in the workplace. The filing can wait. Although…

7. Keep your workplace streamlined

It can be equally useful to you to have all your paperwork where it should be. That client meeting you attended six months ago where there was an idea that might turn into a contract in the future? Re-read the minutes and give them a call. If you’re a fan of bullet journaling, this can help you to diarise ideas that might turn into something bigger later on.

Like all new things, finding methods that work for you can take a little time, especially if it involves breaking old habits that were holding you back.

Give yourself clear space to try new things; you never know what will revolutionise your working life.