Did you know that small changes in your schedule can and do have a big impact on your productivity, sometimes adding or removing hours to your day? Yes, it’s true. Sometimes, the things we do are so unproductive that we lose several hours a day, when we could instead enjoy them and do something we actually want with them.
This lesson was driven home to one of my clients in a very strong way once we started to work together.
Although my client had initially hired me to deal with the large amount of paper clutter she had, as we chatted it quickly became clear that she was living a nightmare every day. A single mother and a doctor, she had very busy and tiring days. In the evening, she tried to devote her time to her four-year-old son until he fell asleep, then do some of her personal chores and study for her upcoming board exams. That was the plan anyway.
The reality was quite different. Almost every night, dinner, then getting her son to bed was a nightmare. She tried to do everything the books tell you to do, but somehow her son never fell asleep before 10:30 or 11 pm, by which time she often fell asleep as well, exhausted by her day and the evening battle.
I asked her to describe in detail her evening routine, and I suggested a small change. She implemented this change. In three days, her son was peacefully asleep by 8:30, and she had a solid two hours to herself before going to bed.
The change I asked her to make? Move up dinner to the first thing she did with her son when she got him back from day care. You see, she was getting her son around 6 pm, would play with him, then give him his bath, and only then serve dinner. By then, it was close to 8 pm, and both mother and son were starving and tired, a recipe for a very difficult time thereafter. Having dinner immediately allowed both of them to interact on a full stomach, in a much happier way, and my client could better modulate the amount of play time so that her son was in bed by 8:30 at the latest.
You are like this mother, whether you are a working mother or a single male: like her, you have habits, routines, ways of doing things, that are costing you enormous amounts of time. completely unnecessarily. So examine your schedule and your habits. Where can you move things around to make them flow better, be more efficient? What can you change in your process to make it more effective?