Imagine finding 5 – 30 minutes of extra time in your work day. How much more would you accomplish? Could you reduce your stress? If you know where to look and are able do a little prep, you can turn these found moments into productive pockets of attention in your day.
Talking and Walking
Plus 15‘s (second-story indoor corridors) in Calgary are extremely important. They keep us warm during the Canadian winter and help us get around downtown without having to change shoes, wear coats or wait for traffic lights.
Instead of just traveling (or getting lost) in our hamster maze tunnels, why not use this time to make a few calls? Unlike distracted driving, most people can walk and talk on the phone without a collision. (This does not extend to people texting and walking, as they run into things at a hilariously high rate.)
Keep an updated list of people to call while you walk (try iPhone Reminders or Google Keep). Walking and talking is a relatively safe kind of multitasking. And by the time you get to your destination, you will have accomplished a task and freed up a portion of your day for other work!
Reading and Thinking while Waiting or Traveling
So you made calls on the way to your meeting, only to find they aren’t ready for you when you arrive. While you wait, catch up on the industry reading you always feel has been neglected. Save articles or pdf’s to your phone or tablet using Evernote, Instapaper or Drop Box type apps so they are ready to read at a touch of a finger – even offline!
If you prefer a paper copy, keep a “Reading” box near your desk and toss reading material in it. When you are heading out for a lengthy trip or public transit commute – grab a few articles or magazines from your Reading box. Reading on transit doesn’t disturb anyone, and it gives you the perfect “I’m busy, don’t talk to me” atmosphere.
If you are short on reading material, why not use waiting time to simply think? Sometimes all a problem needs is dedicated thinking time to be solved. I keep a mini moleskin notebook in my bag for these occasions – it’s a great opportunity to jot notes, process thoughts and get creative. Some of my most innovative ideas are the outcome of long waits in the Doctor’s office.
Coffee and Conversations
Next time you are craving caffeine, invite a co-worker. You can talk while you caffeinate instead of sending emails back and forth. It’s a great way to maximize your work, minimize your inbox and refresh your mind all at the same time. Multi-tasking that actually helps your productivity!
In order to use these pockets of time effectively, you need to be prepared. You can’t make calls without the numbers, you can’t read without the articles, and if you aren’t up to date on your emails, you won’t know who to take for coffee. Stay organized so that you can maximize these pockets of time instead of spending them trying to organize the work you could be doing.