As someone who wears many hats, I find I don’t always have enough time in the day to get eveything done, as much as I’d like to. Sometimes my productivity suffers due to my desire to find the best possible solution to a problem. Sounds familiar?
So, given my lack of time during the day, and my long list of things to do, I sought solutions to my problem. I know I can’t extend the time in the day. And I know there’re things I can’t (or would rather not) sacrifice at the moment, like someone else looking after my child… SO, here’s what I do to increase my productivity:
Tip #1 Choose the right time
Nearly everyone has times of the day when they are most effective and times when they tend to drag. My prime time is early morning, and I usually drag late afternoons. I schedule the most critical tasks for my most effective time of the day, i.e morning. I’m up at 6am to work, and I finish at 9.30am when my little one is up and wanting my attention. From then on, I’m mummy!
Tip #2 Make A Daily List
Before I knock off for the day, I write down my TO-DO list and what I want to accomplish the following day. With a sense of direction, I feel energized to get up the following morning because I know what tasks are waiting for me. With my limited time, I’ll spend it getting things done!
Having said that, I know daily lists can be good IF you know how to use them. The trick is not to spend too much time on this otherwise you waste valuable time. I can write my list for the following day while I work on today’s task. I just make sure I don’t spend too much time writing.
Tip #3 Eliminate all distraction
When I’m working, I usually turn off my cell phone, and I don’t check my emails for that period. Social media is off too. This works for me, with the time I work and the type of work I do. I know I can be easily distracted by a friend’s call, or email so I’ll focus on the task at hand, without distractions. I’ve seen some people display a sign, “Do not disturb,” – way to go! Do it if necessary. You don’t have to do this for all your tasks, but at least during the more difficult or tasks that require all your attention.
Tip #4 Toss it
If a task doesn’t really need to be done, I get rid of it altogether. IF it needs doing but doesn’t really need me, tip 5 is my answer.
Tip #5 DELEGATE some of the work
Is there anyone else who can help? The people around us are resources. When appropriate, use their time and talents wisely to get things done more quickly. Instead of doing everything myself, l let others help where they can. As long as it’s not something I have to do myself.
Tip #6 Avoid procrastination
We all try and avoid the unpleasant or uninteresting tasks, but the sooner we do them, and get them out of the way, the better we’ll feel. I try and get the bad stuff out of the way as soon as I can. And believe me, I’m more productive when I’ve cleared uninteresting tasks.
Tip #7 Set a timer or deadline
Having a specific endpoint really helps me focus my time and energy. If a task doesn’t feel necessary, chances are that it won’t get done. But if I set a deadline for it, then I’ll force myself to do it.
A time limit also helps me concentrate and work better too, especially with social media. I find I can go for hours on facebook/Instagram/pinterest/twitter but with a time limit, I’m more focused. For a task that may take hours, starting will seem easier if I simply give myself 30 minutes to get as much done as I can.
Tip #8 Batch similar tasks together
If you’ve ever received an email from me, it’s usually been early morning or late at night (depending where you’re)! I do all my emailing at once, and that’s usually first thing in the morning (so I can add any items to my To-DO list IF necessary) or in the evening before I set goals for the following day. UNLESS I’m working on a project that needs me to check emails regularly, I follow this routine.
I make all my phone calls once during the day. And it’s usually when my little one is taking a nap after lunch. By then I’ll be missing adult conversations if we haven’t been out so I’ll either talk to a friend OR make that call to a client. And there won’t be any interruptions too.
I check my social media in the morning – it’s part of my work so it gets checked/updated between 6-9.30am.
I find I waste less time by doing things this way.
Tip #9 Set targets
Sometimes I work around my target and it helps me immensely. IF say I need to finish off a job for a client, usually I won’t stop till it’s done. Even if it’s not super urgent, but as long as I set a target I work towards it. If say you need to make cold-calls for your sales job, perhaps setting a target will help. Regardless of what happens, refuse to stop until you hit your target.
Tip #10 Use the Pareto Principle
This principle states that 20% of the actions you could take will provide you with 80% of the benefits. So focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most. Unfortunately, I found these are frequently the tasks that are not enjoyable. You might be surprised how little you really have to do if you focus on the critical 20%.
Tip #11 Increase speed
It sounds silly, but this can really help. I try doing everything a little faster. Because I don’t have enough time in the day to do a lot of work, I have to work faster, type faster, read faster. For fun, we took a speed-reading course at my other job a few years ago and what I learnt has come in handy since.
Tip #12 Take advantage of Technology
With technology nowadays, you can accomplish so much in a short period of time. I always take advantage of technology by using Apps/Tools that save me time but are also effective. Some might view it as being lazy, I see it as being creative and productive. Instead of posting on social media daily, I use apps that allow me to schedule my posts in advance. My To-Do list is electronic and I get reminders as/when I need. Saves me lots of time!
Since I implemented these tips into my life, I’ve found myself getting more done in less time. The ultimate secret is to stay on task and not waste any time. These rules help me do just that.
Found these useful? How do you stay productive? Would love to hear your thoughts/tips/suggestions..
If you find you struggle following some tips but would love to, please check out my other post on the relationship between habit and determination to find out how your determination will help you build a new habit.
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