Time is a bit like a lottery drawing–once it happens, it’s gone. You can’t get it back, have a “do over” or hit the rewind button. However, one aspect of time that can be controlled is to make our use of it more efficient. Of course, CPAs know all too well how precious time is and how to manage it effectively. Still, though, nettlesome time killers pop up and we all occasionally play that game of whack-a-mole to keep the time wasters at bay.
Recently speaking with a friend at a large accounting firm who now works from home four days a week instead of going into the office every day, he commented to me that he can’t fathom how much more productive his work days have become. He’s also far happier in his job. Of course, working from home isn’t for everyone, but I think this speaks to the realization that there are ways to make the best use of time in conjunction with one’s happiness level. Maybe think about that one more deeply as you drive home from the office or sit on the train.
What’s killing time in your business day? Too many meetings? Trying to be a perfectionist? Non-business-related conversations? Here’s a terrific post by John Rampton titled 8 Biggest Time Wasters That Kill Your Productivity. How much time do you estimate went into each of these eight buckets for you last week?
The fourth one on Rampton’s list, multitasking, is a favorite of mine. There are now enough studies published that pretty much confirm that multitasking isn’t the best route to take for both quality and quantity in one’s work life. The human brain doesn’t handle it as well as we think it does. Naturally, that’s an argument with plenty of people in both camps.
One common suggestion in the lion’s share of time management research and opinion is the fact that the human body needs at least seven hours of sleep daily. Sacrificing sleep is not a good way to squeak a couple extra hours out of the day. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. Listen to your body and mind. Do not underestimate the value of sleep. And on that note, I’m going to go take a nap.
“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.”–William Shakespeare