How to Pack Twelve Hours into an Eight Hour Day

How many hours does a regular professional waste on non-productive activities in an eight-hour work shift?

Most people would probably answer "not much", especially the ones who regard their daily output adequate to pass performance management standards. Now, as a follow up question: Is it possible to expand a eight-hour work shift? Every person who knows the basics of time management will probably respond with a "no". Although in theory, there is logic in the aforementioned answers, in practice, they can always be disputed.

Once you get a firm grasp of the exact activities in your eight hours in the office, it becomes easy to spot just which routine activities can be easily disregarded for improved time management. Doing so will then give you more time than you are currently taking control of. This process will not allow you to literally expand or stretch time in ways that could refute the basic laws of physics. What it does is to enable you to maximize the hours you spend in your work area. In no time, you will find yourself accomplishing tasks before the clock says it is time to check out for some playtime.

The Power of Activity Logs

An activity log, often explored on leadership and management courses, is also referred to as a work diary or job activity log. It is an account of your daily activities corresponding to exact time coordinates.

Maintaining an activity log is the most recommended means for professionals to get an accurate view of their daily activities. Even self-professed time management experts are sometimes susceptible to distractions and interruptions that ultimately make their workday considerably shorter. By keeping an activity log for consecutive days, one gets to look at an unbiased picture of a workday routine. An activity log can be a revelation to counterproductive practices that conscious memory alone does not always want to record.

Furthermore, an activity log will allow you to determine whether the most important hours in your workday are being assigned to the most important tasks. Work habits differ from one person to another. While some people function best during the earlier part of the day, others may be more dynamic and creative during the latter part of the afternoon. With an activity log, you will be able to compare personal work temperament and actual work routine. Do you utilize your most productive hours for activities that demand creativity and thinking or do these hours normally go to less important tasks like filing reports? Indeed, time management skills can be taken two or three notch higher with an honest activity log.

Activity logs and time management, in general, are essential when it comes to ensuring that deadlines are met without compromising output quality.

Nicholas Hill