We all want more time in our days. How often do you hear others say (almost daily) there are not enough hours in the day? It is true. I feel it and I am sure that you feel it too.
Did you know we each have 168 hours in a week? In some ways it does not sound like a lot, but if we work 50 hours, and we sleep 56 hours a week (8 hours a day), that leaves 62 hours to do everything else. Whether that be hanging out with kids, family, housework, errands, exercise, you could divide 62 hours over the rest of the week and you would have another 8-9 hours. Or 6 hours each day on weekdays, and 8 extra on the weekend. Where did all this come from? I just finished reading: “I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time” by Laura Vanderkam who discusses the idea of how to utilize 168 hours in a week in the best and most efficient way.
One particular area where I know I could gain time back is during my work day. I am literally always in back to back meetings all day. What if I could change the amount of time I spend in meetings? What if they were cut short? Vanderkam says:
“You can also schedule meetings for shorter slots. Just because Outlook tells you meetings should take 30 or 60 minutes doesn’t mean these blocks have been determined by divine decree. Shorten meetings you can’t kill. Two 60-minute meetings turned into 45-minute meetings buys you 30 minutes a day. Personally, I like the idea of 22.5-minute meetings or 37.5-minute meetings. Everyone will assume you have an incredibly detailed, thought-through agenda.” Page 44
I think the idea is plausible. Not only could I benefit from it, so could those involved in the meeting(s). A ripple effect. The key though is that the freedom of shorter meetings means that you get more time to do the things you need to do, and not instead go to more meetings. (I need to listen to that advice). I am going to try this and see if it brings good results!
I sometimes get teased at work for my excessive use of Post-Its. I have even been told that based on my actual job I should be more savvy using apps and other electronic means of managing my day. I cannot. I am a failure. I am deep down an old school soul. Post-its remind me of the quick, need-to-do-right now tasks. The notebook I take with me to all my meetings serves as a tracking of history. I can go back in time and remember items from meetings, I can track to-dos from those meetings. Usually ones that are not urgent go in my notebook, and Post-Its track URGENT tasks.
We all have our own ways to keep our life in order. I am a mixture of old and new. Chris and I track our grocery list, restaurant interests, and movies via an app on our iPhones, yet I still have paper notes for long-term, ongoing to-dos and future planning. Which way works? If there was an app out there that did exactly what I wanted, without crashing, and had no syncing issues I would probably divert all efforts digitally. However, that never happens for me.
Just this past Sunday I was on my way to the grocery, and just before I leave we realize my phone will not sync with our Any.do app, so I was not be able to view all the groceries on the list. Instead, Chris sent me an email with our list. If I cannot trust an app 100% I might as well resort to old school methods — pen and paper. Post-Its are my colorful, insistent reminders that something has to be done. If that Post-It is kept in an app on my iPhone I can easily ignore it. I have to remember to open that app to be reminded.
What is the method to your madness? Do you have a process that keeps your organized? Are you all electronic? All paper? Or a little of both?