How many of us wish there were more hours in the day? Sometimes, it seems as though you just don’t have enough time to finish everything on your to-do list. I know that first hand, because there are days I struggle with productivity too.
Whether you are trying to get more done at work and impress your boss so you can get a raise, or whether you just want to do more around the house, increased productivity can help you feel better about what you are getting done. And, of course, if you work from home or have a side business, increased productivity is vital.
Here are 5 tips that can help you increase your productivity:
1. Prioritize Your To-Do List
Your first step should be to prioritize your to-do list so that you are able to focus on the most important items first. Having a task list can help you stay focused on what needs to be done, and prioritizing it helps ensure that the vital items are accomplished first. There are a number of tools, including Tasks in Gmail and various to-do list applications for your smart phone, that can help you do this. My favorite, though, is a small whiteboard, or the every-trusty paper and pencil.
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time
Stop multi-tasking. Really, stop. Multi-tasking just splits your attention and slows you down on multiple projects. Devote your focus to one task at a time. Do that well, check it off, and move on. Don’t let other items intrude on you while you are working on that one task.
3. Schedule Time for Smaller Tasks
Some tasks are smaller, and can be accomplished quickly. They also seem to go together. Answering emails might be one of these tasks. Instead of answering each email as it comes in, schedule a specific time to work on email. You might decide to work on email for the first 15 minutes of your day, and then check back in after lunch. Whether it’s email, social media promotion, cleaning up your work area, or engaging in a number of small, connected tasks, schedule a specific time to do that.
4. Set a Timer
One of the popular ideas for increasing productivity is to set a timer. This works especially well with tasks that can’t be easily finished in one session. Break it down. Instead of trying to work on it until it’s done, set a time and work on it for 45 minutes to an hour. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish with this dedicated focus. Then, take a break and start something else. You can come back to this larger task another time.
5. Schedule in Break Time
One thing that helps me is to schedule in time for a break. I schedule in half an hour for lunch each day. I eat my lunch while I read a good book. This allows me the chance to relax a bit and recharge. I also like to take time out for a short meditation. A break can help you refocus your energy and come back to your project refreshed.
What are some of your productivity techniques?