Most of us have way too many things to do and not enough time to do it. Even when we prioritize, there are still tedious tasks that need to get done and eat up a lot of our valuable time. This can include returning emails, paperwork, paying a bill, calling customer service, and the list goes on. We are all limited by time and we must find ways to maximize the time we have. Jason Selk has taught us the art of “time maximization” in his book “Organize Tomorrow Today.”
“Most successful people already manage their time. to break into the ranks of the highly successful, learning how to manage time better isn’t going to change your life. even if you come up with the perfect way to stack all the pieces on your chessboard, you’re limited to the size of the chessboard. And more importantly, if you focus your attention on stacking these pieces and filling up the board, you’re not necessarily creating a system that helps you put the right value on each of the pieces– or assign them the right amount of time. Just because you have a lot of things to do and get them all done doesn’t mean that all those things were done the right way, or that you’re spending your time the way you want to be spending it…. Time maximization is very different. it is the search for both efficiency and productivity but also the act of prioritization at the same time. When you maximize your time, your creating more time to do the important things. you’re changing the size of the chessboard completely. It’s working the other side of the ledger.”
Write down a list of to-do’s that are under a threshold of time to complete (such as 15 minute tasks), that can be completed as time opens up during the day. We all have windows of time that inevitably open up that we can take advantage of. These moments tend to happen when we are between meetings or have cancellations, or just unexpected windows we haven’t accounted for.
Most people use that time for entertainment, such as social media, personal email, reality shows, sports forums, news, google searches, and the list goes on. The people with the highest productivity in any industry have learned to use their schedule gaps to maximize their time by taking advantage of those open windows. This is what Jason Selk calls “attacking the open space.” The more successful you become, the smaller window or units of time you must think in. For most of us, it starts with 15 minutes, and works its way down to 5. If you have a window of time that opens up in your schedule as your “open space,” have a list of tasks handy (in order of priority) for you to accomplish that require that window. Creating this habit in your life will allow you to utilize the flow of any given day to your advantage, while making more space for the things you truly care about.