Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time allotted. What does that mean exactly and is it true? Actually, it is very true. Have you ever noticed that if you’re on a tight deadline you get the project done? If you set aside 8 hours each day to work your business and do your daily tasks, more than likely it’s going to take all 8 hours to accomplish it. If you set aside only 6 hours each day, it’s likely you will get just as much done in that 6 hours as you do in 8 hours. That can give you 2 extra hours of free time each day.
So, how do you make this law work for you? How do you get more production out of your day and manage your time better? Here are a few tips to help you out.
What’s Your Game Plan?
Do you even have a game plan? Without at least some kind of plan how do you know what you need to accomplish? You don’t need an extensive, written in stone type of plan, but you do need a general idea of how your day, week and month needs to go. This will help keep you on track during those times when you aren’t sure what you should be doing. Look at your plan. It should guide you.
This one can be a little tricky, especially if you work from home and have kids around. However, they will get used to you having a schedule if you work at it. It will also help teach them about having and sticking to schedules too.
This can also be tough if you have friends who feel like they can text or call any time. Many people don’t understand that work at home actually means work is involved. Since you don’t have a “real” job, they often feel it’s okay to interrupt you. One thing I’ve found to do in those cases is set their ringtone to silent so it doesn’t disturb me if they do call or text. Some people may think that’s being rude, but if you had a “real” employer they would frown at personal calls too. As your own boss, you have to frown on personal time as well during working hours.
Practice Self Discipline
This one is tough when you first start working for yourself. Part of you feels like you have all this “free” time now and can do things are a more leisurely pace. However, this does not get things done. You have to be disciplined, set your own deadlines and stick to them. It may take a lot of practice, but it is well worth the effort. Once it becomes habit it will actually give you more free time to enjoy your life away from work.
Work Your Plan
Earlier I mentioned having a game plan to go by. Simply having a plan lined out doesn’t make it happen. You have to work that plan. That falls in line with elimanating distractions and being self disciplined. So, when you make out this plan, be sure to include action steps you’ll need to take to reach your goals and make sure you work the plan.
Sometimes it’s hard to get organized. There are some people who do okay with a “fly by the seat of your pants” mentality, but for most people this doesn’t work. You need to set up systems that work for you. Create specific folders for each project so you can keep all of your notes and work in the proper folder.
Make out a daily task list and follow it. Have it all lined out and keep it in front of you during the day so you can keep a check on it.
Keep your work area clean and organized. Nothing is more distracting than trying to work around a mess. Keep your space neat and know where all of your work tools are located so you don’t have to hunt them down every time you need them.
Productivity and time management requires a plan. Get yours going now with the tips listed above!