20 easy ways to find time to learn photography (or anything else!)

I often hear the complaint of “I don’t have time to learn how to take better pictures of my product or service”

Of course we live in a busy world where there are lots to things to grab our attention and pull us this way and that.
I’m no different.
It’s easy to be distracted by the emails, texts, people, facebook, twitter, I can go on and on.
It much easier to do something that is going to give instant gratification than work on something that doesn’t give you that instant hit of achievement
So over the years I’ve learned several techniques which allow me the time to do what I need and should do.
I’ll share them with you today:

  1. Develop a ritual:

I have a plan mapped out every day of the week that begins when I awake and finishes when I go to sleep.

For instance, I stretch for 10 minutes at 5.50AM then exercise at 6.00AM. The exercise varies according to the day for example Mondays and Wednesdays are days I go for a run.

From 2.30 – 3.15PM I make at least 10 phone calls that are likely to lead to promotion or sales of my business

  1. Establishing the best use of your time.

Ask yourself on a regular basis, even hourly:
“is what I’m doing now the best use of my time”
“Is this going to lead to me achieving my goals”.

  1. Establish yearly goals

Most of us have a to do list. A to do list are your mini goals for the day and more often than not we over estimate what we can get done in a day.

What we also do is underestimate is what we can do in a year.

Start first with your goals for the year and then work backwards.
Then you can define what you should be doing on a daily basis and set up your ritual (see no 1)

  1. Turn off all notifications

There are notifications everywhere these days, on your phone, your PC or Mac, your tablet, watch etc.
Turn off any notifications that tell you that have mail, text, messenger, skype etc.

There are always notifications you need like calendar and maybe reminders for your next client phone call. But in the main the rest can be turned off.

Start by putting your phone on silent for half an hour at first, then an hour, then as long as you your business will allow. You’ll actually be surprised that no one missed you.

  1. To do lists

There’s a theory that’s gaining momentum about the little old to do list.
Basically you shouldn’t use a daily list but have a continual list. Having a daily to do list just exerts extra pressure and the reality is that most of us never tick off everything on there. So items you didn’t get around to, roll over to the next day and then the next day and the next day and so on.

Better to have permanent list that gets added and subtracted to and then schedule time to do this in your calendar.

  1. Calendar scheduling

Speaking of scheduling there’s a saying what doesn’t get scheduled gets doesn’t get done. You could turn that around and say whatever get scheduled gets done. But you get the point. Whichever calendar you use whether it be Google, Outlook or Apple you can easily schedule time to do certain tasks, if not all of them and add reminders.

  1. Unsubscribe, do, delete or delegate

We spend so much time in our inbox these days. There are countless apps and theories on how to manage your inbox. Trouble is working them out is almost as much work as it to actually process your inbox.

It’s easier to either unsubscribe, delete, delegate or just do it.

In getting things done by David Allen, he advocates only acting on an email if it it’s going to take a small amount of time

Anything more and if you’ve decided it still needs action by you, then decide when.

  1. Use a Voice Recorder or Smartphone App to take notes on the go

Inspiration often comes from outside the workplace, so make a habit of recording your ideas whenever they pop into your head.

I use a voice recorder and a note-taking app on my phone, and carry around a notepad

  1. Research on your Phone during downtime

Use your smartphone to research when you find yourself waiting around.

That might be waiting in shopping lines, riding public transport, or anywhere else you find yourself waiting

  1. Audiobooks and Podcasts

Audiobooks and podcasts that help your business and your professional development are great to listen to whilst travelling.

Extra tip: Try speeding it up to 1.3-1.5. Our brains are capable of handling speech at faster speed than normal speed.

  1. The 80/20 Principle

Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 principle is the idea that 80% of your output will come from 20% of your effort. Start by eliminating or delegating non-essential tasks that don’t impact results.

The more you focus on things that will affect your business, the more you’ll get done with less effort.

  1. Delegate

If someone else can do a task 80% as well as you can, and you don’t have time to do it yourself, consider handing it off to another team member.

  1. Hiring Help

Don’t have time to do everything yourself? Consider hiring freelance help if you can.

  1. The Pomodoro Technique

Try using the Pomodoro technique throughout your workday.

It’s a productivity method where you work in 25-minute bursts, separated by 5-minute break periods.

There’s a free app available called, surprisingly, “Pomodoro”

  1. Don’t multitasking

Studies show you’ll get much more done, faster if you focus on one task at a time rather than try to multi-task.

  1. Checklists

Create task checklists to keep yourself on track for your projects. Checklists are an effective tool for getting things done. And it feels good to check them off as done.

  1. Never start a meeting without an agenda

Meetings are a pet hate of mine! Plan your meetings and set timers. Never go into a meeting without an agenda or a goal that the meeting is going to help achieve.

  1. Only Use Tools That Show Real Benefits

With the many tools and software services that are available, we often end up with non-productive tools. Get rid of them! That saves time and money all in one fell swoop.

  1. Take On Your Toughest Task First Thing In The Morning

Do your most IMPORTANT task first thing in the morning, to free up mental space to take on the rest of your day.

  1. Sleep

    Asleep on the job
    Asleep on the job

Get a good night’s sleep. Some say 7-8 hours per night. The more you get the more you’ll get done and with less effort, if you’re well rested. Working when you are tired leads to less energy as the day progresses.

There’s many more but I’d really like to hear from you any additional tips or tricks that you have.

You may be using some of the above but have adapted it for your own use. Great! Please share what you do.

So please leave your comments in the box below.

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