Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important? Do you find yourself “reacting” a little too often to everybody else’s urgencies, and justifying doing so by thinking that you have to? Being active and reactive is not the path that leads to productivity and profitability.

The key to having more time is to do less. Yes, you heard me…do less.

Here are 5 key paths that will help you get there sooner.
1. SHORTEN AND PRIORITIZE YOUR TO DOs – Before the end of each day, take 5 – 10 minutes to de-brief your day and to prioritize your TO DO list for tomorrow. Do so in order of importance from “critical” to “would be nice”. Pick your TOP 2 “mission-critical” items and physically block off the necessary BubbleTime™ needed in your calendar to get the job done. By the way, there should never be more than 2 mission-critical items to complete every day. NEVER.

If you find yourself in serious lack of time because you have too many “mission-criticals”, more time is not going to solve that, in fact, more time is only going to give you a bigger container for more “mission-criticals”. Discipline is what you need to increase. Learn to better prioritize and reduce interruptions to stay focused on getting the important things done.

2. DETERMINE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLE – Think of your non-negotiable as the one thing that absolutely needs to be accomplished in your day, “no ifs, ands or buts”. How do you know what is worthy of being a non-negotiable? Ask yourself: “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?

3. BE AWARE OF YOUR ACTIONS – Are your actions serving your priorities? Or, are you allowing a whole bunch of distractions and noise to take over your day?

4. STOP MULTI-TASKING -If you prioritize properly, there is no need to multi-task. Multi-tasking is a symptom of “task creep” says Timothy Ferriss (author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”), it’s just doing more to feel productive while actually accomplishing less. Divided attention only results in more frequent interruptions, lapses in concentration, poorer net results, and yes, less gratification.

5. STOP ACCEPTING INTERRUPTIONS – Emails is one of the biggest interruptions of all times. “The problem with email is when we don’t contain it, our focus and attention becomes fragmented and our ability to focus on our priorities is severely compromised”, says Kevin Lawrence, business coach. Here is the shocker: Start checking emails 2-4 times per day at regular, designated times. You will notice an immediate increase in efficiency and focus. Start communicating to those around you that you now check email a couple times a day, and if something critical arises, they should call you directly.

The key to having more time is to do less…and by doing less, I mean concentrating more on your priorities and less on the noise that surrounds you. By prioritizing more effectively and staying focused and disciplined on sticking with what’s truly important, you will get more done in less time and become more profitable as a result.

Dedication is often just meaningless work in disguise. Be ruthless and have fun cutting the noise.

How to Get More Done in Less Time, Isabelle Mercier
Optimizing Email: Stay Productive, Not Busy, by Kevin Lawrence.
The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss