Expert tips for being more efficient and feeling like you have more time

Ever feel like the day just doesn’t have enough hours?

Your to-do list stretches out ahead of you, tasks pile up, and you’re desperately trying to scrabble back minutes by staying up late or working through your lunch break.

How is it that other people manage to get everything done while you struggle?

‘They don’t have any more time: they don’t have an eight-day week or a 26-hour day,’ says entrepreneur and author Terry Blackburn. ‘They just use their time more efficiently.’

So efficiency is what we’re after. How do we build that? Terry shares his top tips.

Put everything in a diary

The first step to better efficiency is adding some structure to your time.

Terry tells I’ve got a Google diary/Google calendar, and I put absolutely everything in that calendar — when I go to the gym, meals, when I go out with my friends or partner, when I have the children, my work appointments, my viewings with property.

‘Every single thing that I do is in there: you can set recurring events that are the same every single week. I try to be really structured — I go to the gym and have the kids at the same times each week — because the more routine you’ve got, the easier it is to structure your life which means you can do more and be efficient with your time.’

Stick to time slots

If you’ve got a half-hour meeting, make sure it’s actually just half an hour – if it’s overunning, you’re entirely within your rights to say you need to run off.

‘If you have an appointment and the overrun is only 15 minutes, if you’ve got six overruns during a day, you’re an hour and a half behind by the evening,’ Terry nots. ‘So, if you have to pick up your kids at the end of the day, your free time has all gone.

‘By being a little bit late consistently, the knock-on effect even in one day is a couple of hours.’

Look after your mind and body

‘If you want to perform at your best, you have to feel your best physically and emotionally,’ says Terry. ‘So that literally comes down to:

  • Exercise – Have you exercised? Everyone feels good after exercising.
  • Self-improvement – Have you listened to an audiobook or read something to feel mentally at your best?
  • Healthy diet – You’re likely to have brain fog or feel sleepy after eating sugar. You won’t feel at your best if you’re hungover.
  • Hydration – You’ll feel less alert if you haven’t had enough water to drink.
  • Looking good – You perform better and have a spring in your step when you look great.
  • Meditation – meditating helps with clarity of thought.
  • Happy home – If your home life is good, you’ll feel better. It doesn’t matter how well you are doing at work if you come home to a horrible environment.
  • Teamwork – Life is always better when you have a team that has your back

Work in your peak state

Don’t half-do the job. This just drags things out longer and might tasks might require redoing.

Put in effort and do your best work whenever you’ve slotted that into your schedule.

‘Imagine the compound effect of performing at your best every working day,’ Terry notes. ‘You could retire 10 years earlier, you could get to your financial goals much earlier.

‘Do you want to delay your success or speed it up? By performing at your best you will speed it up, because you’ll get more done and achieve more when you feel your best.

‘You’ve got to design your life in such a way as to ensure that it’s going to happen.’

Invest in yourself

Spending time and money to feel your best isn’t a waste – it’s the most important thing.

Terry tells us: ‘Basketball star LeBron James spends $1.5 million a year on himself to ensure peak performance, I’ve recently read.

‘LeBron James knows his body is his most valuable asset. So he pays for a nutritionist, chefs, massages, a personal trainer, mindset coaches, physios to feel his best and play basketball at his best.

‘He sees this an investment, because he’ll make a bigger return if he can play in the NBA for the longest amount of time possible.

‘If you want to be the best businessperson that you possibly can be, how much are you spending on yourself? What are you doing? What are your habits? What are your behaviours? Who are you getting your advice from? And how can you up your game?’

Terry Blackburn is an award-winning entrepreneur and author of Be A Lion, out now.

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