At the end of the day, do you feel like you’ve checked everything off of your list? I rarely feel satisfied at the end of the day. It always seems like there’s more that could be done. Since we only get 24 hours in a day, then we need to change our habits and learn how to be more productive with the time we have.
Productivity is measured by the positive energy you devote to a task to reach a positive outcome. When you’re productive, you achieve more goals and get greater rewards for your work. On the downside, your productivity can also be sabotaged.
Your coworkers or your boss may demand your time. Clients may want more and more from you. You have family commitments. You are bombarded by technology – such as mobile phones, texts, emails, and social media – all day long.
Improve your productivity and get more done with these 11 smart hacks:
Write down 3 of your most important tasks every morning.
Start the day out knowing exactly what you want to accomplish. Letting the day run you is a productivity killer. Each morning, prioritize the top three tasks of the day. Be clear on what you want to get done. For instance, “write a blog” is not enough. Instead say, “Write a blog about being more productive. Submit to boss before 5pm today.”
Make a daily To-Do Checklist – every day.
Some people like to use pen and paper, while others use their phones or a mobile app to create a daily to-do list. I like to wrap up my day by creating a checklist of to-dos for the next day. My mind is still on work mode, and I can get more organized. If I wait till morning (and I’m half asleep), it takes me longer to get a running start. Be sure to add deadlines to your to-dos. Otherwise, you will simply add unfinished tasks back onto your to-do list for the next day.
Start your day tough, or start your day small.
What you do at the beginning of your day will dictate the flow of the rest of your day. You have two options:
1. Do the hardest task first so everything else feels easy
2. Do the easiest task first to ease into the day
I am slow to wake up and get motivated at the beginning of the day, so I would like to start out easy. However, I’ve learned that I’m happier in the long run if I start with the harder tasks. If I have to make a difficult phone call to a client, I want to get it out of the way first.
Make time for a 2-hour work mode.
For 2 hours every day, focus on your work and try to finish what you need to do completely undisturbed. That means no phone calls, no checking your texts, and no emails. If you’re working on something important, and you’re interrupted then your productivity is out the window.
Use the one and done rule.
If a new task arises during your workday, schedule a time to handle it. Add it your To-Do Checklist (below the top three tasks of the day). Simply jot it down so you remember and don’t forget that you planned to “take care of it later.”
If a task can be done in two minutes, do it.
Small tasks will pop up during the day. You don’t want to waffle back and forth on whether you should do them. If you can complete the task in two minutes or less, then do it. If the answer is no, then add the task to your To-Do Checklist (below the top three tasks of the day).
Focus on one task at a time.
Everyone thinks they can multi-task. You really cannot. Multi-tasking can actually reduce your productivity by 40%. When you try to listen to a conference call and read your emails at the same time, your brain is actually switching back and forth between the two tasks. You switch between tasks and produce less. Focus on one thing at a time.
Check your phone no more than once an hour.
This hack is a hard one for most people. It takes some time to get used to. We hear a ding or see the screen lights up, and we grab the phone. Our phones are one of our biggest distractions and a killer of productivity. Put it on vibrate and leave it out of sight.
Set specific times to check email.
Check your email 2 to 3 times a day. Some people like to check it first thing in the morning to make sure there are no immediate fires, before lunch, and at the end of the day. It’s up to you what works best, but if you can check it less frequently, you will notice that your productivity increases.
Restrict social media use to 15 minutes a day.
You check an interesting Facebook posting and the next thing you know you’ve liked your friends’ statuses, checked out recipes on Pinterest, and watched a few cute puppy videos on YouTube. Set limits and you’ll be much more productive during the day.
Learn to say no.
It’s hard for me to say no. I’m a people pleaser. I like to help out and pitch in where I can. But if you really want to achieve greater productivity, you need to work on your own time. If a co-worker asks for help and you’re in the middle of something, let them know, “I’m busy right now, but I’ll let you know if I have some time later.” If it’s your boss, give him or her the choice of doing the tasks you have planned, or what your boss wants done. Most often, the tasks you have on your plate are the more important ones.
We have access to so many distractions. We get stuck in the same routines. If you want to be more productive, you need make some changes. You may not want to incorporate all the productivity hacks listed here, but you can try the ones that you appeal to you. Make a to-do list and see what happens!