Meer doen in minder tijd

7 tips to accomplish more in less time (part 1)

"People who think that time is money usually only realize on their deathbed that their time is up but their money isn't." ― Alexander Pola

Have you ever felt like time was slipping through your fingers, even in the midst of retirement expectations or the hustle of your daily life? I vividly remember eagerly anticipating my retirement, expecting a sea of time lying ahead. Ironically, it seems that my schedule is now busier than ever before. Time is more precious than ever, and this awareness has led me to contemplate how we can do more in less time.

Fortunately, there are strategies you can apply to increase your productivity. Here are the first seven tips that can help you make the most of your time. Not necessarily to do more, but to have time left for what truly matters in life.

1. Make a plan and set priorities

It might seem contradictory when you have little time to spend a quarter-hour planning. However, without doing so, you lose a lot of time and energy hopping aimlessly from one task to another. Imagine that, through thoughtful planning, you discover that the work you do for one task is actually the key to success for another. By setting the right order, you can create synergy between tasks and handle them more efficiently. This prioritization prevents you from getting stuck in the multitude of small tasks that may not be essential and lead to a loss of time.

2. Avoid multitasking

This tip applies to both men and women. Even if you think you can do multiple things at once, it's actually an illusion. Instead of multitasking, you're constantly switching from one task to another. It's not surprising that studies have shown multitasking actually reduces your productivity. Concentrating on a single task leads to fewer mistakes and improves the quality of your work. Better focus also makes you work faster.

3. Take regular breaks or use the Pomodoro technique

Named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by its creator, this Pomodoro  technique involves working intensively on a task for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break. These short, focused work periods can help you avoid distractions and keep your energy level high. Taking breaks is not only a well-deserved breather, but it also allows you to stay fresh and alert, increasing your productivity throughout the day.

4. Minimize distractions

To work with focus, it's important not to be distracted. If a background radio distracts you, turn it off. But more importantly, turn off your phone and all digital distractions. Each notification requires your attention and, therefore, time. Ensure you have a quiet workspace so that you aren't disturbed, or inform others that you are working.

5. Learn to say 'No'

It's easy to get overwhelmed when trying to please everyone. By learning to set boundaries and saying 'no' to tasks or obligations that don't align with your goals or priorities, you take care of your well-being and productivity. If you've made a priority list, you can easily refer to it to frame your 'no.'

6. Use technology

There are many digital tools designed to increase your productivity. Apps like Trello help you manage projects, Todoist helps you track task lists, and Google Calendar can assist you in managing your time. Choose the tools that best suit you and integrate them into your daily routine. However, remember that technology is a tool, not a goal in itself. It's an art to find the right balance so that technology actually enhances your productivity without overwhelming you.

7. Schedule regular reflection moments

Periodic self-evaluation can help you refine your approach and identify any obstacles. So, when you're extremely busy, take some time to reflect on what works and what doesn't so that you can adjust your strategies and optimize your productivity. This prevents you from running around like a headless chicken from one task to another.

In conclusion:

These tips reveal that working faster is actually a good balance between planning and reflecting on one side and working concentrated on the other. Speed is achieved by also slowing down occasionally and taking breaks, or as the French saying goes: 'reculer pour mieux sauter,' which means 'to step back in order to jump better.' Therefore, at the end of each week or month, take the time to look back on your achievements. Consider what went well, what could be improved, and what changes you can make to make the next period even more productive. By consciously choosing where you invest your time and energy, you can have time left for the enjoyable aspects of life.

Next week, we'll bring additional tips in part 2. Meanwhile, do you have any tips for doing more in less time? Share them below...

Twee mensen in een restaurant lachen terwijl ze hun technologie gebruiken, een illustratie van technologie in relaties

Technology in Relationships: 7 Tips to Find Digital Balance

“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.” – Christian Lange

These days, I catch myself constantly checking my phone. With my watch also connected, I'm alerted with every post on any platform. It feels like I spend more time in the digital world than in the real one. But what exactly is the impact of technology on our relationships? I've gathered 7 tips to make the most out of the digital world while avoiding the pitfalls.

Tip 1. Enrich Your Communication

Thanks to technology, you can now chat with your loved one even if you're thousands of miles apart. You can have deep conversations online with friends or even your psychologist. However, there's a danger in replacing physical interactions with digital ones, losing real intimacy and depth. Use digital communication as a supplement, not a replacement. Remember, text messages can lead to misunderstandings. For important conversations, it's sometimes better to call or meet in person.

Tip 2. Be Aware of Selective Information

Nowadays, all information is easily accessible. But the photos of your friends on that exotic beach don't tell the whole story. Make sure you don't solely rely on what you see online. Take the information you get from (social) media with a grain of salt and occasionally ask your friends how they're genuinely doing.

Tip 3. Digital Introduction, Authentic Connection

Dating apps have transformed the way we meet people. While it's easier than ever to meet new people, it can also foster superficiality. Use technology as a tool to connect, but transition to personal meetings to discover the real person behind the profile.  

Tip 4. Find Your Availability Balance

The pressure to always be reachable can be overwhelming. Maybe you feel it's essential for your kids, boss, or partner to reach you at all times. But what's the downside? There's no longer a moment where you can truly be in the 'now', free from being 'available'. Perhaps consider letting your contacts and family know that you won't be online all the time, so you can schedule 'phone-free' zones or times, allowing you to truly enjoy the moment.

Tip 5. Cherish Moments of Silence  

You never have to feel bored nowadays. Waiting for the tram? Scroll through social media or play an online game. Your phone is always there to entertain during moments of boredom. But boredom serves a purpose; it allows you to slow down and be mindful, reducing stress. Ensure you occasionally schedule empty moments to enjoy the stream of thoughts passing by, rather than filling them with the noise of the internet, freeing you from constant notifications.

Tip 6. Joint Technological Activities

Sometimes, I text my significant other, who's just a floor above, to ask something. It's convenient, but if you're continuously sending messages from different rooms in the same house, you might slowly lose real contact. Use technology for joint activities: play games together, watch movies, or listen to music. Discuss your thoughts about using technology in your relationship. Consider taking a walk without phones for genuine contact with each other and the surroundings.

Tip 7. Conscious Online Shopping

Almost anything can be purchased online nowadays - groceries, meals, books, or kitchen gadgets. It's undoubtedly convenient, but there are downsides. Maybe you're tempted to buy things you didn't really need. Or you get your food delivered instead of enjoying shopping and cooking together. Shopping and cooking can be enjoyable shared experiences.

Conclusion

Technology can indeed enrich your relationships, but it's essential to use it consciously. Actively reflecting on your digital habits can let you enjoy its benefits while steering clear of its pitfalls.

I'm also curious about your experiences. How does technology influence your relationships? Share your thoughts.