Life is busy, and when there is too much to do a creation of option paralysis can happen. There is a cure.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and unless you have figured out how to survive on no sleep it’s important to make the most of each hour. Tim Ferriss, a best-selling author, has a few suggestions in his recent podcast on how eliminating seemingly insignificant habits will help you benefit from less stress and more productivity. Ferriss’ novel, The 4-Hour Workweek, has been translated into more than 40 languages and covers a multitude of tips to limit your wasted hours. Check them out here.
Ferriss recommends not becoming obsessed with breaking bad habits, but with some engraved in our brains, it’s easier to break them into bite-sized pieces and see what works for you. You may be amazed at how much time and energy you will save.
Bad Habit #1. Don’t Answer Unrecognized Calls
If your phone rings and you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer. Simple enough right? Disruptive calls can break concentration and are more often than not completely pointless and frustrating calls. Remember that if it’s important they’ll leave a message, and you can always call them back.
Bad Habit #2. Put the Email Down.
Email is great unless it’s first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. Ferriss insists that “email can wait until 10am”, especially if your email is particularly demanding. Try to accomplish one other task before signing in and give yourself an hour or two completely ‘email free’ before bedtime.
Bad Habit #3. Cut It Short.
Ferriss claims that “small talk takes up big time”, and he is completely right. This may sound harsh but there are ways to be polite but brief. Note that this step isn’t appropriate in every situation, but by recognizing the needless chatter in each day you can cut back and reclaim valuable time and energy.
Bad Habit #4. End the Meeting/Call.
Meetings are important but setting a clear goal and end time are just as, if not more, important. Ferriss recommends that no meeting should ever last more than 30 minutes (woohoo!) and should be well prepared for in order to make the most of attendees time.
Bad Habit #5. Put the Email Down (again).
Don’t check your email constantly. Set aside specific times to sort through the messages, then set it down again until the next specified time. Opening our inboxes has become a mindless habit that steals hours every week. Ferriss recommends twice a day and likens email to a continuous “cocaine pellet dispenser” and tells us to not be addicts.
Bad Habit #6. Know When Enough Is Enough With Customers.
In every business there is that one customer who accounts for less than 1% of sales but demands 80% of your time. Ferriss recommends analyzing customers to evaluate if they are worth the strain on your clock and patience, and says that “sometimes you really have to fire your customers.”.
Bad Habit #7. Go ‘phone cold turkey’.
Be warned, it’s scary, but Ferriss recommends one day a week when you turn off your phone completely (ahhh!). If you are still reading, Ferriss says that this is the hardest habit to break but is also the most rewarding.
Bad Habit #8. Too Busy Does Not Equal Work More.
If you feel overwhelmed in your daily life, the answer is not that you need to work more. According to Ferriss, the real answer is priorities. Understand that you can’t do everything on your to-do list. Pick the most important tasks each day, and realign your required goals to rid yourself of unnecessary stress. There is nothing worse than working hard all day and then beating yourself up because there was one thing you didn’t get done. By re-evaluating your priorities you can be sure that every day ends with a job well done.
Bad Habit #9. Work is Not Life.
All work and no play made Jack a dull boy, so it is important to keep your eyes on your goal. Letting your work slide once in a while should not produce guilt, but letting your life slide once in a while should.
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