Three days ago I committed to a new “work strategy”. The strategy is basically this: While I am at my desk I am going to work and when I am done with my day’s worth of work I am going do something else. So instead of doing 6 hrs of work in 8 hrs I am going do it in 6 hrs and get the fuck out of there. This may sound like I am being lazy. Yet, I sure that every single person can look at what you did at work today and find a way to do all of it and probably considerably more in 75% of the time. Here are the time saving strategies I have implemented so far for myself:
1) Stop wasting time surfing the web all day. I notice that I mindlessly check Espn.com, Myspace, BeastTube.com, hotdogandfriends.com, hoboboobies.wordpress.com, and several other sites over and over through out the day. Now I am not saying I am giving up filling my brain with useless information, I am just going to check them once in the morning before I start working and once at the end of the day before I leave. The actual time spent checking these sites is substantial, yet the biggest efficiency gained is in regard to the reduction of mental downtime going between working, surfing the web, and getting back work. Even if I only look at the site for 30 seconds there is a 2 to 3 minute mental funk before I actually get back into work mode.
2) Email- Only check my email 4 times a day (First thing, before lunch, 2 pm, and 4:30 pm). Also when I check my email respond to all of the emails I am going to respond to. Same efficiency theory here. Email is a really important part of my job, but it is also the main inefficiency in my work day. I will be working on something important then I will get an email and drop my task. Then I will send off my email and mentally wonder off for a while. Then I get back to my task and I work for a few minutes till I get another email and drop my task again. In the end I have spent 2 hrs doing a 30 minute tasks and answering 30 minutes of emails.
3) Organize a List of Tasks- Before I start my day I am going to lay out every task I want to get done for the day. Then I am going to number them and start at the top of the list and complete each task before moving on. This will make sure I don’t waste time on less important tasks just because they are easier or less boring. This will assure I actually do the difficult or boring tasks. This plan will also layout everything I want to get done for the day and be a good barometer of when my work day is complete.
4) Knowing that I don’t have to be at work (most important one) – This is an option that unfortunately most people do not have at work. The beauty of being my own boss and a private contractor is that I get paid for what I do not the time I spend doing it. Forcing people to be at work a set amount of time is one of the great inefficiencies in our current cooperate system (see my last post about why 30 hr work days). Yet that social conditioning is really hard to escape. So often in the past I have always stayed at work until 6:00 pm everyday because I felt like I should. I felt like I was being lazy if I left early. Yet in reality the realization that I don’t have to be here seems to me to be an incredible catalyst to actual productivity. The reason most people aren’t very efficient is because it doesn’t matter how much they get done they still have to be at the office X amount of hours. Is there any wonder why people spend 2 hrs a day looking at their fantasy baseball team?
– So far so good. I honestly feel like I have had 3 of my most productive days of 2008 since implementing the strategy. Also I have put about 5 hrs of time into things I actually care about. Instead of just wasting my newly created free time I am going to try and focus it on coming up with a future for myself (and possibly others* who are brave/foolish enough to take the plunge out of the convention along me.) I will keep you updated with the progress.
My favorite idea so far: Start an eco-lodge on the beach in Panama with a bunch of my close friends. I think the idea would work if we don’t go into it with the plan of making money, just to live and enjoy life as much as possible. I will present all the logistics and details when I finish business plan.
*as long as you aren’t stupid or annoying