Our Time Management Training has helped thousands of people around the world to feel less stressed and more productive. However, it is often the case that people’s workloads are so relentless that it feels like there’s no time to stop and set up systems that will make life easier and work better.
It’s not easy to make space in your everyday life to set up processes that will make you feel less stressed, when you constantly feel snowed under and have deadlines looming. This is why the ‘at desk coaching’ is such an integral part of our Time Management Workshops – it gives people space to start making the change on the day, so that they don’t have to find time for it. Having said that, there are a few ways to make space to become more productive in your own time.
1. Start Small
Right now, if setting aside a few hours is too far a stretch, start with 10 minutes at the beginning and end of the day. Treat it as your boss mode time to think and regroup.
2. Separate the Thinking and the Doing
Each time you start a piece of work, be mindful of doing your thinking up front – a few minutes to think and note down: What’s the next physical action? What’s the context? What’s the positive desired outcome/what project does this belong to? Use the CORD diagram as a prompt. This thinking will help you to manage the piece of work at hand, as well as build your second brain gradually.
3. Space to think
Use some of your time as your thinking time – a mini-review if you like. What went well today? Where does my focus need to be tomorrow? What will help me with that? Or perhaps start building the non-work part of your second brain. You’ll be putting your Productivity Ninja skills into practice as well as reducing the mental load on your actual brain.
4. Your Second Brain doesn’t have to be built in a day
If you’ve done the exercises in the How to be a Productivity Ninja book then you’re actually much closer to having your second brain set up already, because you’ll have the structure designed already. If not, take it one exercise at a time.
5. Break it Up
If your day typically involves long stretches of sitting at the desk, try incorporating the Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes work, 5 minute break. The break helps to recharge our capacity, refresh our minds and sharpen our focus. It will feel counter intuitive to start with – the times when we think ‘I can’t stop now, I’ve got too much to do’ are probably the times when we most need the break.
Finally, I started with ‘start small’. Remember to celebrate the small too. The Ninja journey is one of a thousand steps (I’m still on it!) so don’t knock the small steps you take. Give yourself credit. They will make a difference. And do let us know how you get on along the way.
By Grace Marshall
Grace is Think Productive’s Productivity Ninja for the Midlands and author of “How to be REALLY Productive“.
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