How I manufactured time for myself? [Part-2]
Thank you so much for the great response to the first part of “How I manufactured time for myself?”
In case, you couldn’t go through the first part, here is the link: How I manufactured time for myself? [Part-1]
Here are the remaining choices, which helped me to create an abundance of time for myself:
I haven’t configured my e-mail in my mobile or tablet
The frequency and quantity of of e-mails has significantly increased in the last decade, especially the Cc’ed mails. As if receiving mails on your laptop/desktop was not enough, the urgency of checking mails created another media – our Smartphone and then one more- the Tablet. Mail access on mobiles began as a need for people who are always mobile and don’t have a stable desk job. Gradually, it spread all across the corporate world as a revolution.
It’s in human psychology that once we do something repetitively, it becomes a habit and we continue doing it without questioning its relevance or requirement. When e-mail is configured in a phone, the first thing many people do right after waking up is to open their e-mails This can easily consume 10-15 minutes of precious time. Their morning starts in a reactionary mode, which is not a good way to start your day. Many a times, the tone of the mood is set after checking the mails.
I’ve carried a smart phone for over 6 years, but never configured e-mail on my phone and I have never faced a single problem, so far. Rather, it’s been a blessing. This single habit created huge time and peace of mind for me, which I really cherish.
Just stop for a while and close your eyes for 30 seconds and visualize the situations/instances where you felt the necessity of having e-mail configured on your mobile. I bet, either you’ll find none or very few which were easily manageable otherwise.
You might be afraid that the moment you remove the e-mails from your mobile, the sky is going to fall on you or earth will fall apart. Here are a few suggestions to help you to get over with this unauthentic fear:
- Configure the e-mail receiving to ‘Pull’ option rather than the default ‘Push’ option. It will help you to check the mails only when you want to check and the mails won’t be automatically pushed to your mail box on your phone.
- Once you remove the e-mail configuration on your mobile phone and you still need to access your mail (in some urgent situation), you may access it through Internet browser by manually logging in. I do it whenever there is any urgency to check a mail, which is very rare.
- Gradually, start informing people around you that you no longer access e-mails on phone.
Manual setting of e-mails on my laptop and I check my e-mails twice a day only
This has freed up significant time during my business hours. I check my mails twice a day only. The first is around 11am and the second at around 5pm. As a principle, I don’t check my mails when I reach office, and, never check my mails when I am about to leave.
This is possible only when you configure your e-mail setting to Manual (rather than the default “Auto’ setting). However, if you need to send any mail, it will be sent automatically without triggering the option to receive the mail. So you can freely send mails as many times as you want and still able to receive the mails only when you want, when you click the ‘Send/Receive’ option on your mailing software (i.e. Outlook, Mail etc.)
This is easily possible, especially in NCR, where people have a good habit of informing through a phone call or SMS about any urgent mails sent across. In my last 14 years of professional career, I haven’t faced a single situation where I had any problem because of this habit of mine. Rather, people got trained around me that I check my e-mails only twice a day.
You must give it a shot, at least try for a week and then see the difference in your effectiveness. You’ll, for sure, write a thanks mail to me for this.
I start my day at least an hour earlier than the official time
This habit of reaching one-hour early gives me the productivity of more than 2 hours and it helps me in finishing my day an hour early in the evening, double benefits, isn’t it? I utilize this precious time for ideation and strategic planning. Many of excellent ideas related to my existing business came from this one-hour. Starting early puts the steering wheel in my hand and my approach becomes proactive, rather than the usual reactive approach.
In addition to the huge productivity benefits, this habit has transformed me into a good listener and a calmer person. My prejudices have become lighter and mitigated.
A few years’ ago, I realized that most of my morning time at home gets consumed in non-productive work (i.e. getting ready) and I used to be quite short of time in the evening because of coming late. Initially, I started with reaching half an hour early to office, which increased my productivity significantly. Later, while doing a business-coaching course, my coach laid significant emphasis on reaching at least one hour early to office. He categorically mentioned that my business can’t function in an auto-pilot manner unless I adopt this habit.
Initially, it was not easy but when I continued it for a week and got the huge long lasting benefits, then reaching early became natural for me.
In this one-hour time, I take up the problems (both personal and professional), which I am dealing with, and really see what I can do about it. In the beginning, my mind used to lure me (and it still does) to give up this strange habit and do something, which is easy and predictable. Proactive thinking is not an easy habit to cultivate but it’s very essential for a quality and balanced life.
‘Batching’ of work helps me a lot
This is one of the simplest habits, which has freed up quite a good amount of time in my daily life. During the day, there are few activities, which I need to do on and off:
- Make phone calls to potential clients for meeting
- Make phone calls related to other office work or personal work
- Return calls which I missed during the day or earlier
- Access LinkedIn for updates and sending relevant connection requests
- Giving instructions to my team
I used to do these activities as and when they popped up. But, when I observed that my concentration was affected by this ad hoc activity I started ‘batching’ work, a concept that I’d read about. Within a week, I got some amazing results in terms of productivity and availability of free time.
I have created 3-5 batches of 15-30 minutes during the day where I take up the activity of a particular batch together, i.e. making calls, checking LinkedIn, etc. This habit helps me to focus on pre-scheduled task and I am able to complete them powerfully.
After starting batching of work, I don’t get tempted to attend all the calls, which come on my mobile. For sure, I attend the important and urgent calls but for other calls I usually send them a pre-typed message that ‘Sorry, I couldn’t take your call. If something urgent, please message me and I’ll call you back. Else, I’ll call you once I get free’. Then, by the end of the day, I call up all these people.
I follow the 90 minutes rule
In a webinar, Robin Sharma (Author of “The Monk who Sold His Ferrari”) talked about this 90 minutes rule, which made a lasting impression on me. He says that whatever you want to achieve in your life, just keep the first 90 minutes of the morning for that work and continue for the next 90 days and you’ll be astonished at the results you get.
Since then, I keep at least one slot of 90 minutes every day for important work which I want to complete and it’s so magical that it gets done. I prefer to schedule the first 90 minutes of my morning time (8.15am to 9.45am) for the important things, which I want to complete and whenever I am not able to do so because of any meeting or other urgency, then I make sure that I keep one 90 minutes slot at some other time during the day.
I agree that it’s not easy. Initially, my monkey mind used to tell me to shrug it off, as it’s quite hard on discipline. However, the results (which I got from the 90 minutes schedule) kept me motivated to follow this diligently.
I use WhatsApp on a need basis
I am not at all against of using WhatsApp for communication and staying connected with friends and families. It’s a wonderful gift of the technology and we should certainly take advantage of it for making our life more easy and beautiful. However, we don’t realize how much time gets spent on WhatsApp (including the time after reaching home).
I also use WhatsApp but only on a need basis. I check my WhatsApp maximum twice a day, once after lunch and once after dinner. My WhatsApp status is- “I rarely check Whatsapp, preferable mode to communication is SMS or Call. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
In case, you can’t get rid of checking WhatsApp regularly, at least switch off the Notification in WhatsApp which flash off on your mobile screen or in the Notification area of your smartphone as and when any new message comes. This will reduce your habit of checking WhatsApp so often. I started with this only and then I could migrate to checking it only twice a day.
This single habit will release a minimum of one hour – it’s my personal guarantee.
I hope one of the few choices, which I shared here, may equally work for you in creating abundance of time for yourself.
Earlier, I was planning to publish this article in 3 parts because of the length of the text but now I have concluded it in this 2nd and final part.
Please share your views here or drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org , I would be glad to hear from you.
Chandan runs a company named Blue Consulting Pvt. Ltd. , which specializes in providing Finance, and Accounts outsourcing services to MNC companies and professionally managed Indian companies.
Links of other posts by Chandan:
Convert your car into a “University on Wheels”!
Pooch daala to life jhinga lala!