Avoiding time inflation

Lifestyle inflation is a concept whereby any increase in the income is spend on consumption rather than saved or invested for the future.
A very similar conclusion can be made to managing time. Something I call time inflation can be applied to your day. The main premise is that any extra time you get due to canceled meetings, calls etc is wasted on checking email or browsing the internet.

Continuing with such approach is not most effective way to use the time available. after all once it’s gone it’s gone.  There are three basic factors that contribute to such situation yet they can be easily overturned.

No plan

Very often we don’t plan our days so if we get unexpected window of time we don’t know what to do with it. If next meeting is in 2 hours and nothing interesting showed up to do it’s easy to quickly check the web, look at email, twitter etc.

To counter that make sure you have a list of small tasks you can accomplish in 15minutes or less. Any time something get canceled or delayed look at that list and see what you can do. Also make sure that your list is updated regularly.

No habit of checking master task list

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? You can start thinking of all the different things you could do but that will waste more of your time. Rather than come up with different tasks, it’s best to refer to your master list and select something to complete.

If your don’t have a habit of looking at your list one way to develop one is to surround yourself with few different reminders. You can stick a not on your monitor saying “check master list”, you can also set up reoccuring appointments in your calendar prompting you to check the master list.

No master list to work from

Where do you keep your tasks are they scattered around on dozen sticky notes, different files or notebooks? How do you know which is the one most up to date?

In order to make your work easier create a single list of all your tasks. This way there is only one place to refer to and it’s always easy to find something to focus on. If you want more granularity categorize your tasks based on few criteria that fit your workflow. This may include time needed, energy, location etc. Once in place your master list will make it easy for you to get stuff done and not to lose any tasks.