Simple Techniques Why Some People Get A Lot More Done In 24 Hours
I received an email from Amantha Imber, and the footnote said: I am a Lark who doesn’t adhere to standard office hours. If you get an email from me at a strange time, please don’t feel pressure to respond at an equally strange hour. She is in Australia, and I am on the East Coast of the United States. By the time I did the time zone math, I wasn’t sure what an odd hour meant for responding to emails.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people can accomplish a lot more. Sure, they may have people who can help with the routine chores, such as housekeeping. They may have disposable income to allow for regular orders of takeout for dinner (read my Forbes article on how this relates to your ability to learn new things). Perhaps they have a short or non-existent commute. But at the end of the day, they seem to have checked more significant items off their to-do list, not just more things.
So what are these time-savvy, to-do list checking people doing differently?
Backstage at the Thinkers50 gala green room for award winners, I met Amantha Imber, an organizational psychologist and productivity expert, and learned that she studies this exact question in painstaking detail. In her new book, Time Wise, and podcast How I Work, she interviews efficient and productive people worldwide to learn their secrets and figure out how they accomplish more without losing their souls or sanity. She then distilled each method into a two-page, easily digestible explanation. To date, she’s curated hundreds of these time-saving strategies.
It seems so easy that anyone can do it.
Imber learned that there are seven categories of how high achievers work more effectively, and it is what separates high achievers from dreamers.
- Priorities – learning what to say ‘no’ to
- Structure – how to organize your day
- Efficiency – time-saving tips
- Focus – tune out distractions
- Reflection – overcoming imposter syndrome and negative self-talk
- Connection – cultivating your network
- Energy – strategies to bring greater satisfaction and energy into your working life.
Some of my favorites include batching meetings on specific days with small breaks in between, and instead of meeting someone for coffee so they can pick your brain, make it a phone call during commuting hours.
Learning how to leverage your peak performance hours starts by determining your most productive hours (You can take the Morningness Eveningess Questionnaire to figure out your type). Are you a:
Lark – Someone who wakes up very early and gets started on their productive workday? This is true for about 10% of people.
Owl – Someone who is most productive at night. About 20% of people fall into this category.
Middlebird – These people are similar to a lark but delayed by a few hours.
Larks are at peak productivity two hours after they are fully awake. However, they experience a dip in their energy levels post lunch and have a second wind in the later afternoon. Owls present the reverse pattern.
Determining this vital distinction and then picking from the many available time and energy-saving tips so eloquently described can make ourselves, teams, and organizations more productive.
The time-saving strategies are written in short, pithy narratives, making the tips relatable and actionable. For more information on these strategies, see www.amanthaimber.com/timewise