Does getting through your entire to-do list seem like an unreachable goal?
If you have a million and one things to do and are not keen on working 24/7, it’s time to become more efficient.
To get on the right path to increased productivity, I’ve come up with 25 tips to get you on your way. Incorporate some, or all, of these and you’ll be churning out the work in no time. Let’s get started.
1. Get rid of clutter
Organize your workspace so everything is easy to reach and there’s nothing there that doesn’t need to be. Clear desk, clear mind.
2. Reduce time on social media
Social media is like a big black hole. Your intention is to spend just a few minutes checking your Facebook and all of a sudden, you’ve wasted three hours. Oops.
3. Switch off gadgets
It’s not just social media that provides unwelcome distractions. Emails. App notifications. Phone calls. Remove the temptation and, at the very least, put your phone/tablet on silent.
4. Listen to music
If you find it helps, listening to your favorite tunes can keep you focused and motivated. You could even try listening to scientifically-optimized music that helps increase concentration. Focus@Will is one option if you’re willing to give it a go.
5. Turn off the TV
Just as with gadgets, having the TV on — even in the background — can be detrimental to productivity. It’s all too tempting to watch one more episode. It’s best to just switch it off.
Going for a brisk walk first thing in the morning may do the world of good. In a randomized trial, researchers found that participants who exercised reported higher energy levels than those who didn’t.
7. Eat well
Making good food choices is something to aim for if you want to keep your mind active and your body replenished. Start your day by kickstarting your metabolism with a nutritious breakfast, and opt for healthy snacks to help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
8. Take regular breaks
Going full steam ahead all day is likely to result in burnout. Instead, set yourself a goal to work for a designated period then take a short break to do something relaxing or fun. Just do something different to what you’re working on.
9. Set a timer
The Pomodoro Technique is a method whereby you work on a task for a set time — usually 25 minutes — and then take a short break. The idea is to work constantly during the 25 minutes and not allow any distractions to interrupt your flow.
10. Stand more
If you work in an office, you most likely sit for hours at a time. This isn’t good for your blood flow or posture, negatively impacting mood and productivity. Try a sit-stand desk or, if that’s not possible, conduct standing meetings or even take time out to stretch to get the blood pumping.
11. Make a to-do list at the start of each week
Before you start your working week, create a list of all the projects and related tasks you have to complete. This will make it easier to prioritize tasks and set realistic goals.
12. Create a daily schedule
Once you know what your week’s workload looks like, it’s time to break the tasks down into a manageable daily to-do list. Don’t fill every minute of every day because we all know things don’t always go to plan. You get sick. The car breaks down. You get the idea.
13. Batch similar tasks
Once you’re in the groove of doing a particular type of task, it’s best to keep the positive vibes going. Answer all your emails, make any necessary phone calls
14. Create a routine
As well as completing similar tasks together, doing these tasks at the same time each day will help you get into a productive mindset. I know I like the familiarity of a routine that has been proven to work day in, day out.
15. Do one thing at a timeSplitting your focus between conflicting tasks can be counterproductive. Do just one thing at a time. Click To Tweet
Contrary to what you may think, multitasking is not necessarily useful when tackling a mountain of work. In fact, splitting your focus between conflicting tasks can be counterproductive, and can cause unwanted stress and anxiety.
16. Focus on time, not the task
If you’re anything like me, you tend to underestimate the time it will take to finish a task. A helpful trick is to ask yourself whether you can reasonably expect to complete the task in a specified amount of time instead of allocating time to a task.
17. Work on important/urgent tasks
Using your to-do list, decide which tasks are crucial to completing a project (important) and/or need to be done asap (urgent). If a task falls into both categories, promote it to the top of your list. If a task is neither important nor urgent, leave it for later.
18. Do least fun tasks first
Procrastination is a productivity killer. A good way to break through the barrier is to stop dragging your feet and get started. Tackle your least favorite task early on in the day, getting a much-needed motivation boost to complete the remaining tasks.
19. Outsource mundane tasks
If you’ve got the ability to outsource tasks such as invoicing, making appointments, or transcribing, it’s a great way to be able to focus on other things important to managing your business.
20. Go old school — pen and paper
Often, traditional ways are best, and this is certainly the case when it comes to writing. Ditch the laptop and pick up a pen and piece of paper instead. A study has shown that using a pen to write boosts memory and the ability to retain information.
21. Learn to say no
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with how much you need to do and you always seem to be behind in your work schedule, don’t beat yourself up for saying “no”. As difficult as it may be, you’ll feel much better for it.
22. Stop reading everything
Just as with social media, the abundance of information available on the Web fuels procrastination and can be disastrous for productivity. Have clear limitations on what research you need for any task and avoid trawling through the bottomless pit that is Wikipedia.
23. Learn keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts and combinations are handy when wanting to speed up computer-related tasks. Each time-saving maneuver may seem minor, but it all adds up, potentially saving you several hours over the working week.
24. Use tools
As well as keyboard shortcuts, there’s a vast range of tools available to help get things done more efficiently. If you’re forever trying to keep up with social media, give Hootsuite a try. It allows you to monitor your accounts from a single dashboard, saving time and simplifying social activity.
25. Love what you do
This one’s key. If you don’t enjoy your work, every day will be a struggle and you’ll start to resent the projects that get sent your way. Take a step back and consider whether what you’re doing is just about the money or something you honestly wake up every day and look forward to.
That concludes my top tips for increasing your productivity. Give them a go and hopefully, you’ll be completing tasks left, right and center.
What strategies or tools have worked for you in the past? Let me know in the comments.