I saw a bank that said "24-hour banking", but I don't have that much time. – Steven Wright, comedian.
How much would you pay for an extra hour in the day?
We feel your struggle. Fortunately, the world graced us with Tim Ferriss – the man behind the book The 4-Hour Workweek. His productivity hacks put our time management excuses to shame. The truth is; we all have enough time, we just don’t know how to manage it effectively.
Lesson 1: Adopt selective ignorance
There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant. – Ralph Emerson (1803-1882)
'Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals and outside of your influence', says Tim. One fifth of a CEO’s time is spent reading the news or engaging on social media, according to Time magazine. Be selective with what you read at work and you will improve productivity and get more done. The rest you don’t need.
Lesson 2: Use the time you do have
'Since we have eight hours to fill, we fill eight hours. If we had 15, we would fill 15', says Tim. His advice is to adopt Parkinson's Law, which argues that 'work expands to fill the time available for its completion'. So set yourself tight deadlines, and stick to them.
'Time is wasted in proportion to the amount that is available,' Tim explains. If you give yourself an entire day to complete an hour-long task, you’ll likely use the entire day. The key to Parkinson’s Law is to create a sense of urgency. Remember university? Those late nights trying to scrape together an essay were never fun, but boy they were focused. Set false deadlines in a tight timeframe, and stick to them. Added pressure increases productivity and gives you back your time.
Lesson 3: Focus on the 20 percent
One of the biggest lessons learned from the 4-Hour Workweek is Pareto's 80/20 rule. This rule applies to everything: 80 percent of negativity comes from 20 percent of the people. 80 percent of revenue comes from 20 percent of your clients, and so on.
Tim recommends automating the non-essential and focusing on your most profitable clients. If you apply yourself to the core 20 percent, you'll regain time without seeing a decrease in business performance.
Lesson 4: Outsource, outsource, outsource
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. – Bill Gates
Minimum time input, maximum output; that’s the goal. Workplace automation is the key to regaining time. Virtual assistants and apps are your friends. They give much needed support and help you offload those irrelevant but important errands.
Work smarter, not harder
Time is precious, and we don't utilise it. Only half of time in the workplace is spent working. The rest consists of unimportant meetings, emails and admin, which you can automate. In the words of Ferriss himself:
'Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash.'