Limited Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about time. I’ve enjoyed a few days off this week. And I spent a lot of it hanging out with relatives. We caught up, played a few games and shared some great meals together. I held a couple of new babies and hugged a few old ones. And I realized I don’t do enough of that because I can’t seem to find the time.

Time is finite. We don’t know when it’s going to run out, but we all know that it will. So what do we do with the precious time that we’ve been given every day?

I think the most important thing we can do in 2016 is maximize our time at work so we can enjoy more time off work. So I’ve compiled a short list of some of the most helpful things I’ve learned over the years that improve productivity:

1) Delegate – If there are any tasks you can delegate at work, do it. Delegating frees you up to work on big picture issues. Leave the details to your staff members.

2) Make a list – Every week, every morning, every hour – whatever works for you. Set some goals and make a list of what you want to accomplish each week. Then, every morning, make a list of what you need to do that day. If you don’t have goals, you’ll never reach them.

3) Prioritize –Prioritize your list each day. Make sure you make time to accomplish the higher priority items first.

4) Schedule your time – Once you identify what you need to get done, you need to schedule your time so that you can do it. I mean this quite literally. I find that if I block off three hours on my calendar to strategize and two hours to work on a presentation, I actually get these things done. If I don’t, I can easily spend eight hours putting out fires.

5) Take a lunch – Break up your workday by getting out of the office. Eat lunch, work out, take a walk, play pool – just get away from your desk and take your mind off work for an hour. You’ll return with a better attitude and fresh ideas.

6) Leave – As a general rule, call it a day at 6pm. Don’t look at emails. Don’t take work calls. Just leave the office for the evening and fully enjoy your time at home. Your work will still be there in the morning. And thinking about it 24/7 won’t make it – or you – better.

7) Sweat – Working out your body does wonders for your mind. It releases anxiety, improves your blood flow and clears your head. It actually GIVES you energy. And you need all the energy you can get.

8) Celebrate – After you’ve called that client, finished that report, or given that presentation, rejoice! Mark through that item on your list with relish. Treat yourself to a latte. You have accomplished something. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy it!

Time passes quickly. We’re supposed to enjoy it. So let’s make the most of 2016. Remember: The harder we work, the harder we can play.