Would you like to get more done each day? Do you feel as if you are constantly running behind and trying to catch up? Here are 11 great tips that you can use to radically boost your productivity.
- Get Distractions Under Control
Too many distractions can really eat into your productivity. Get a handle on this by doing the following:
- Staying away from tempting social media sites
- Cutting down on office chit chat
- Only checking your emails at specific times during the day
- Using email instead of the phone when dealing with people who tend to want to chat
Don’t be hesitant to turn off your phone for a period of time, or to use an app to temporarily block access to certain websites.
- Schedule According to Your Natural Energy Levels
Nearly everybody experiences peaks and valleys in their energy levels throughout the day. Pay attention to when you are at your highest and lowest. Then, plan your most physically or intellectually difficult times when you have the highest energy levels. You will work quickly and make fewer mistakes.
- Eliminate Unnecessary Tasks
Take close look at how you are spending your time. If you are doing things that are redundant, unnecessary, or that are better off being delegated to others, clear them from your schedule. If you cannot think of a beneficial reason for doing something, stop doing it. If it is important to somebody else, they can do it themselves, or find a way to convince you that it should stay on your task list.
- Do Urgent Yet Unimportant Tasks at The Same Time
Urgent yet unimportant tasks are the mundane things that need to be done, but are not necessarily mission critical. Think about things like picking up the dry cleaning, paying bills, grocery shopping, filling out paperwork, and sorting through low priority emails. When you work on these tasks, schedule your time, and your travels so you can get as many done as possible at one time. You’ll have more time, overall to spend doing important things.
- Save Headspace by Writing Things Down
What’s this person’s phone number? What street is the dry cleaner on? Where am I meeting the new client? Stop wasting time trying to pull information like this out of your memory banks. Instead, write it down! Add scheduled items to a calendar app that works for you. Keep phone numbers and addresses in your contact lists as soon as you get them. This will give you fewer things on which to spend your mental resources.
- Write a Daily List of Priorities
To do lists are okay, but they aren’t as effective as priority lists. A priority list is simply a list of things that you have to accomplish on a given day. If you get these items done, you can work on other tasks, but the priority list comes first. When you force yourself to consider what is a priority and what is not, you will be surprised at the tasks that are not as important as you think.
- Prepare For The Start of The Next Day Before Going to Bed
If your parents made a habit of laying out your clothes each night and making sure your book bag was ready, they were smart folks. The fewer mundane tasks you have to perform in the morning, the sooner you can get started on the important tasks that are facing you. Before you go to sleep, pack your breakfast and lunch, set the timer on your coffee maker, and check your schedule for the next day. This will help you to hit the ground running every morning.
- Get Away From it All
We’ve all been there. It’s the middle of the afternoon, and you are trying to stay on task. Unfortunately, your body keeps sending you “nap time signals”. Even worse, the office or household noises that usually don’t bother you become more and more distracting. Don’t be tempted to nap or surf the internet. You can still be productive. Just grab your stuff and go somewhere else. Take your laptop into a conference room or to a cafe down the road. If you are home, and inside the house, go work outside. The change of scenery and the physical act of moving from one place to another will give you a quick energy boost and help you to regain your focus.
- Don’t Make Perfect The Enemy of Good
Becoming more productive is a challenging process. You have to change habits and patterns. You also have to change the way you interact with others. Not every change you make will stick the first time, and not every single day will be an example of perfect productivity. Focus on the successes, and on the changes that really work for you. Don’t get frustrated or sabotage yourself because you are focused on perfection instead of noticing and capitalizing on the improvements you are making.
- Make Yourself Unavailable
If you have an important task to accomplish, sometimes you just have to block out some uninterrupted time to get it done. This means closing your office door, putting out a do not disturb sign, turning off your phone, and marking yourself as busy on your shared calendars. You will be amazed at how productive you can be in just an hour to an hour and a half of alone time focusing all of your thoughts and energy on getting things done.
Clutter is the enemy of productivity. It is visually, mentally, and emotionally distracting. Clutter, whether is in the form of a mess on your desk, disorganized documents and folders on your computer, or emails that should have been deleted months ago, just gets in your way as you are trying to get things done. Dedicate 10 minutes two or three times a week to delete old emails, purge or organize documents, and figure out what on your desk can go into the recycle bin. Then, do the same things in your home.