How to get an extra hour every day
Time pressure is acute and frustrations such as commuting, inflexible working hours and tedious meetings make it worse.
To get things started here are ten sure-fire ways to get an extra hour a day.
- Do emails on the train. With a notebook with 3G Mobile Broadband, you can get ahead of your emails before you even get to work. (Broadband connections require separately purchased wireless data service contracts.)
- Work from home. Instead of commuting to work, why not stay at home and put the journey time to better use? Using technology, you can still stay in touch with your colleagues and access all your email and work files.
- Virtual meetings. The majority of office professionals reckon they could save up to six hours a week simply by not travelling to offsite meetings. Video, web or phone conferences can reduce the amount of time you spend travelling to meetings.
- Get up earlier. An hour before work is more productive – mainly because it is quiet – than any other time of the day. Changing sleep habits takes a bit of work but it isn't difficult.
- Concentrate more. If you can get the same work done quicker with better concentration, it will free up time later for other things. The key concept is 'flow'. This is a mental state in which a person is fully immersed in what they are doing. Disruptions, such as phone calls and emails, break the flow. It can take 10-15 minutes to regain your concentration, so avoid disruptions. Switch off email, put the phone on voicemail and consider getting noise-cancelling headphones.
- Find information faster. Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 include a lightning-fast search feature that can find files and emails anywhere on your computer. Finding the right file quickly can save you having to rewrite it or spend hours searching manually. You can also save searches as virtual folders for future reference. For example, you can create a virtual folder for each of your clients.
- Go wireless. Notebooks with built-in wireless networking mean you can get online and pick up your email from any location that has a suitable Wi-Fi connection point. If you don't need to go back to the office between meetings or you can work in cafes, trains and airports you can get more done in less time. With 3G Mobile Broadband you don't even need a connection point to get connected at broadband speeds; anywhere with cell phone reception will do.
- Shorter, more efficient meetings. Do you find yourself spending most of your time in meetings? If you could make them more efficient, with better preparation and the right technology, you could save hours every week.
- Manage your time better. Microsoft Outlook helps you time tasks more efficiently. Consolidate tasks, flag email messages for follow-up, and schedule appointments in one view.
What would you do with an extra hour every day? We asked real people and got some surprising answers. These are the things that really matter to people:
- Plan ahead.
- Play more sport.
- Visit the gym.
- Help other people.
- Spend more time with the family.
- Spend some time in the garden.
- Go for a walk.
- Spend more time with my staff – investing in their career.
- See my friends.
- Relax and listen to music.
- Do some reading.
- See more concerts.
- Take a break to reflect.
- Come up with new ideas.
- Sleep more.
- Catch up on all the administration I don't have time to do.
- Learn something new, like a new language.
An extra hour a day would make people happier, more fulfilled and more productive. You can make it happen.
Microsoft, Windows and Windows Vista and Outlook are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.