If the latest research is to be believed, as we age our ability to function at peak brain efficiency seriously declines if we work over a 40 hour week. It is even suggested that anyone over 40 should work an optimal 3 day week. Well, if only that were an option financially, we would happily concur with the research and reduce hours immediately.
As this is an unlikely option for the majority of the working population, how can we become more efficient in less time?
Ditching the "To Do" List
One of the top strategies from highly successful people is to ditch the "To Do" list. Yes, you heard right, throw away the long list of tasks many of us in busy PA jobs compile at the start of the working day. What was discovered in interviews was that successful people don’t write to do lists, they actually schedule these tasks minute by minute on their calendar to make sure they get done.
Not only that, but the most critical task of the day is scheduled on the calendar for anything up to 2 hours first thing in the morning without any interruption so that the task most likely to have an impact on your goals actually gets done.
If you stop to consider this, it makes a lot of sense. How many of us run rolling to do lists where the same thing is constantly rolled over to the next day, and the next….? Perhaps this is an indication that we find that task difficult or even that it should be delegated to another team member.
Calendarise tasks instead of creating lists
How realistic is this for workers in busy PA or secretarial jobs, where we are at the mercy of a boss’s urgent to do list? Our advice is to get support from your boss for blocking out at least an hour where you can focus on critical tasks. Try the calendar method of task lists but make sure you re-schedule critical tasks which didn’t get done.
Don't be a slave to email
Another trick for getting more done is to calendarise your email. Hard as it is to ignore the ping of a new email, this is the ultimate distraction from staying on task and not one which successful CEOs succumb to. Although difficult initially, it is surprisingly liberating not to be a slave to your Inbox.
Finally, you can’t make more time in the day but you can try to create more energy for the time that you do have. Don’t sacrifice sleep, exercise or healthy eating. Focus on being at your optimum performance for the hours you do spend working.
Remember as with most things in life, less can be more! For further advice on efficiency in your PA jobs, please contact RMS Recruitment on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0207 5189170.
Three-day working week 'optimal for over-40s' - BBC News
Critical Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Every Day - Dr Travis Bradberry on LinkedIn