This story is part of our monthlong “Work Well” initiative, which focuses on thriving in the workplace. You can find more stories from this project here.
While we'd all like to fancy ourselves amazing multi-taskers, that's not always the case. With so much to do and so little time, it's a wonder we even find time to eat. But this lack of time shouldn't get in the way of success.
So when it comes to time management, how do the most successful people in the world stay efficient?
Sydney Finkelstein, a professor and faculty director at Dartmouth College's Tuck Leadership Center, has the answer to that very question. The author of “Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent," Finkelstein has spent decades coaching and studying executives like Ralph Lauren and J.Crew's Mickey Drexler. This experience has yielded a wealth of knowledge that can help us all live our own personal success stories. Finkelstein gave us a list of specific tips for the path to greater efficiency that goes beyond simply using a daily planner and constructing meticulous to-do lists.
Check out his sage advice below:
1. Only go through your mail or emails once. Don’t save them -- answer them right away.
2. Block out time each day where you're totally disconnected.
3. Schedule meetings back to back, but leave time at the end of each one to quickly jot some notes to remember key takeaways.
4. Avoid going to meetings because you think you need to be there. Either you definitely do, or you definitely don’t. Be decisive.
5. Carefully review your calendar every now and then to see how you’ve been spending your time. This is one of the best ways to realize that you're probably wasting more time than you should.
6. It might seem counterintuitive, but take time to work out. It gives you energy to be much more efficient.
7. Set tough but realistic deadlines for yourself. We usually take longer to do things when we give ourselves more time.
8. Get a good night’s sleep.
9. Use the time you spend on airplanes to work on something that can’t be rushed. The forced isolation for a set period of time takes away the pressure of figuring stuff out super fast. Less pressure = more thoughtfulness.
10. Purge, delete and throw out unnecessary emails and paper as well as any other clutter. And do it often.
11. When you hit a roadblock with one of your multiple projects, move to the next. Don’t keep hitting a brick wall.
12. Always wrap up a projects for the day at a point that will be easy to pick up the next day.
(GIFs by Damon Scheleur)
The Huffington Post’s “Work Well” series is also part of our "What's Working" solutions-oriented journalism initiative.
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