If only there were more hours in the day! This is a common thought for most business people. We all need a little more time to get our work done, or squeeze in one more task. Or, do you? The real trick is not working longer, but working smarter. If you can work more productively, you can get more done in less time. That sounds pretty good to me.
So, how exactly do we do that? Well, there are all sorts of techniques that will help boost your productivity. I’ve listed some of my favourites right here in this blog. In fact, I use them all on a daily basis. It helps me power through the to-do list, and leave work with a clear desk. How often does that happen to you?
- Write everything down
We all tend to have a hundred things running through our heads at once. This is the biggest problem when it comes to time management and productivity. When it’s all in your head, it seems like a mountain of work. It feels stressful, and we feel overwhelmed. Instead, write it all down. Everything. Splurge all your thoughts on paper. Now, you can prioritise things. You can schedule them, set deadlines. You can eliminate them from your mind. It’s one of the best tricks I learnt from this free time management eBook. It’s become a daily habit, and I’ve never looked back.
- Use the pomodoro technique
If you’ve never heard of the pomodoro technique, it’s about to change your working life completely. It’s a simple way of breaking up your day into bite sized, manageable chunks of super productivity. It all starts by setting a timer for 25 minutes. That’s a nice short period of time, right? You can get started on a project, or power through all your emails in that space. Focus on completely uninterrupted work for those 25 minutes.
When the timer goes off after 25 minutes, take a five minute break. Stretch your legs and make a cup of tea. Read a blog or check Twitter; whatever you like. Then, set the timer for another 25 minutes. This is super easy if you’ve got some form of wearable technology like an Apple Watch managing your time. Studies show that this method is incredibly effective when working through projects. After a couple of hours, give yourself a longer break too.
- Blast through the ‘2-minute-jobs’
Most of the time, we feel stressed and overwhelmed by our to-do list. But, let’s just take another look at that list. Some of those tasks will be super simple. Reply to an email, ask supplier for a quote, call the doctor. Set aside twenty minutes at the beginning of the day, and just power through them. It gives you a great sense of satisfaction as you quickly cross off things from your to-do list. It also clears your mind of stress, and lets you focus on the major jobs and tasks of the day. Don’t stress the little things. Just get them out of the way.
- ‘Fight the monster’ first thing
I’ve heard productivity experts refer to this in all sorts of different ways. One expert calls it ‘eating the frogs’. I prefer ‘fight the monster’. You’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. It basically means getting the big, ugly job out of the way first thing in the morning. The ‘monster’ or ‘frog’ is that one job you’ve been dreading. It’s big, difficult, and it hangs over everything. We’ve all got one of these on our to-do list.
The trick is to blast through it first thing in the morning. Don’t check your emails. Don’t answer the phone. Just dive in, and get it off your to-do list. You’ll instantly feel better and lighter than ever before.
- Avoid distractions
It’s easier said than done, when we’re only ever one click away from social media and blogs. The office is full of distractions, but it’s your job to ignore them! There are a few ways to do this. First, you can use a piece of software or app to block certain sites. You can set a blacklist, and then hit the timer. You’ll have no access to them for a period of time, allowing you to get on with more important things. If that seems a bit intense, try giving yourself a ‘reward’ break. When you finish one project, you can spend five minutes being distracted in whichever way you choose!
Last of all, get plenty of sleep, and stay hydrated. These things are key to concentration and energy.
That’s all, folks! Have you got any productivity tricks of your own? Please share them with us in the comment section.