EOY Insights: Too Much To Do And Not Enough Time To Do It In?

I am always thinking about planning. It’s a symptom of modern working life; there is so much to do and not enough time to do it in. How do you work smarter and achieve more? I don’t believe we should be working every hour of the day and work life balance is integral for everyone to live a happier life… So anything that makes us more productive is a plus, right?

As part of the EOY programme we see entrepreneurs work at an extremely high pace, but imagine if they could make their work or time say 10% or 20% more productive with the right approach… Wouldn’t that have a big impact on bottom line? This principle applies to everyone, the more productive we are with our time, the more we can get done and the more balance we can achieve in our lives. So how do we do it? I have read a lot of articles on these ideas, productivity apps, Pomodoro approach and simply sitting down to make a clever to do list which is time restricted and focuses on urgency and results. The method is not the issue, everyone will respond to a different approach, the best thing to do is to find an approach which works for you and how you like to think or work. Any change in how you work will feel unnatural at first and that is why it is best to try a few approaches and find one which is not too extreme. If you typically work by pen and paper and don’t make to do lists then don’t think moving all your work to a productivity app is going to change your life, getting to grips with the technology alone will take too much time and eat into your already busy schedule.

The secret is to try methods which complement how you already work. The Pomodoro Technique is something I think everyone should try at least once as it forces you to think about tasks differently and what you can achieve in a given, restricted time period of 25 minutes.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are known as “pomodori”, from the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility

Some of the top apps I would recommend from the various articles I have read and my trial experiences are Evernote (my personal favourite) Any.Do, Wunderlist and Getting Things Done (GTD).

Too much tech and new age mumbo jumbo for you? Then take advice from Rachel Chong CEO of Catchafire – just focus on the 3 most important things at any one time. Chong says she maintains a list of three top priorities and makes sure that all her time is devoted to those tasks.

Business owners have a lot to manage, including their time. Trying to do everything at once and spending valuable hours on the wrong projects can destroy your productivity. Worse, it can send the wrong message to your staff – and that’s never good.

As the leader of the organization, I better know how to use my time well. Because if I don’t, how the heck will my team be clear on how they should use their time?” says Rachael Chong, the CEO and founder of Catchafire, a business that matches professional talent with non-profit demand.

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Go forth and be productive!


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Sarah O’Connor manages the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme in Ireland.  EOY Insights is an EOY blog on topics and trends that we come across every day while working with Ireland’s best entrepreneurs and business people. Topics including tech trends, leadership, innovation, workplace culture, agri-food issues etc. To be honest, all stuff we are interested in and hope will be of interest to you too!

Keep an eye out for our posts each week and let us know what topics you would like to see covered.

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