Productivity is a topic that’s important to me.
I run several businesses and travel around the world to meet with clients and business partners.
I’ve often found myself wishing I could have more than 24 hours to do the things I need to do in a day…
30 hours would be nice. 40 would be even better. But of course, no amount of wishing or hoping is going to change the facts.
24 hours a day.
That’s all I have. That’s all you have. That’s all anyone has.
So, why is it that some people can easily accomplish so much more in a day than others?
How is it that people like Oprah or Tony Robbins are able to create massive success in their lives with the same 24 hours as anyone else?
After spending a good chunk of my time looking for the answer to this question, I’ve discovered that successful people can almost “magically” stretch time.
They don’t recite spells or wave a magic wand, of course…
They just follow a few simple yet powerful rules around time management and productivity.
I’ve incorporated these rules into my own life and the results have been nothing short of phenomenal.
I’m now able to “stretch” time to focus on critical, results-driven activities at work and still have enough time to spend with loved ones and on activities that add joy and meaning to my life.
Stretch Rule #1: Ditch The To-Do
Lists have their place in the world.
When you know you have to stop at the grocery store, having a list on your smartphone or written out in your notebook will save you from wasting precious minutes, wandering between the shelves trying to remember what you need to buy.
But when it comes to planning out your day, a list isn’t going to help.
If you’re like most people — and I certainly fall into this category — the very thought of “to-do” list can create feelings of resistance and struggle.
When you have a long list of tasks, actions and activities that you need complete, feelings of overwhelm and anxiety can start to creep in.
This leads to procrastination.
A great way to overcome this problem is to ditch the to-do and replace it with time blocks in your calendar.
At the start of your day, or at the end of the day before, identify what you need to do and then schedule them directly into your calendar.
Estimate how long it will take to complete each task and schedule accordingly.
This way, you avoid the to-do list altogether. Plus you instantly gain a clear picture of what you’re going to do and when.
This will help you move through your day with precision and clear direction… 2 critical elements you absolutely need if you want to maximize and stretch out every minute.
Stretch Rule #2: Say No, A Lot
Successful people say “no” a lot. They understand the value of their time and they are very clear about their goals.
This clarity allows them to make quick, effective decisions.
First, they focus on identifying the tasks and activities that actually move them closer to what they want to achieve…
And then they systematically discard the rest.
When you learn to say no to insignificant meetings, impromptu chats at the water cooler or projects that don’t interest you, you’ll be amazed at how much extra time you have on your hands.
Stretch Rule #3: Don’t DIY
Go the DIY or do-it- yourself route only if you’re not serious about achieving massive levels of success.
Driven, determined and ambitious people are always looking for ways to free up more time to do the thing that only they can do.
For instance, if you’re a coach, you cannot (and should not) delegate your client sessions to someone else.
Your clients pay to talk to you and only you. This means you need to show up, ready to give them your best.
Everything else? Well, delegate as many of those as you can.
Tasks like doing the laundry, paying utility bills, or making an appointment with the dentist, can be quickly and effectively carried out by an assistant or virtual assistant.
You might be inclined to believe that simple, routine tasks eat up just a few minutes of your time…
But minutes add up to hours and hours add up to days… You get the picture.
If you want to stretch your time and achieve great things in your life, make it your goal to hire a full time or hourly assistant the moment you can afford to.
Stretch Rule #4: Get it Done. Now
David Allen is one of the foremost productivity and time management experts in the world.
He’s the author of one of the most popular time management books of all time…Getting Things Done.
One of the most powerful time-stretching techniques that I took away from that great book is this one…
If it’s going to take you less than 2 minutes to complete, do it right away.
Tasks like filing away a document on your computer so it’s easy to find later or sending a quick one-liner reply to a friend via a text message can be done in 2 minutes or less.
If you allow these small tasks to accumulate, you’ll spend a large chunk of your time completing them, down the road.
But when you get small tasks out of the way as soon as possible, you will free up more time and mental space that will allow you to focus on truly important activities.
Get in the habit of regularly reevaluating how you use your time throughout you day and consistently look for ways save and stretch your time.
And when you use these 4 rules to get started with managing your time like some of the world’s most successful people…
You’ll instantly notice your productivity levels increase and feel motivated to hit your goals in record time.