Getting as much as you can out of the day – whether it’s the workplace or in your personal life – seems to be more of a challenge for some of us than others. We all know examples of people who’ve managed to pack in an hour at the gym, replied to all their emails and drafted a board report all before you’ve barely made your morning cuppa! So, how do they do it? What’s their secret? Well, in this article we share some valuable tips that will help you become more productive.
1. Block out time and have a to-do list
Time is the key to everything and so the first step is to block out time in your diary when you can get on with doing what needs to be done. This means no interruptions, no phone calls and no notifications. When depends on your job and your body’s naturals rhythms. Maybe you’re a lark and so are naturally more productive at the start of the day. Or maybe you’re more of an owl in which case late in the afternoon might work best for you.
The next step is to tackle one task at a time. Usually at work or in our personal lives we’re faced with a multitude of tasks which as well as making us feel overwhelmed also has a paralysing effect. So instead of coming up with a daily to-do list, why not use a weekly calendar and slot in tasks and projects over the course of a week or even a month for non-urgent tasks that can wait. This is a great way to focus the mind and bring some order to your working week, while taking the pressure off daily deadlines.
2. Turn off your emails
A recent survey from Adobe found that the average worker spends an incredible 7.4 hours per weekday checking or responding to their emails. Add social media notifications, or news alerts into the mix and it’s a wonder anyone manages to get any work done! Productive people realise that email and notifications are an incredible distraction and so they deliberately only check their in-boxes two or three times a day. They schedule email time on the calendars and process it in chunks. In fact, another study from the University of British Colombia found that those people who check their emails less frequently, reduced the amount of time they spent responding by 20 per cent. And perhaps more importantly, they also reported feeling less stressed.
3. Look after yourself
If you’re not fit and healthy in the first place, then it’s very hard to be productive, so looking after your wellbeing is just as important as responding to emails. You may well be one of those people that can get up at 5 am and jog to work. And if not, then a swim at lunchtime or a walk with the dog after work is just as good. Make sure that you eat healthy too – getting McDonald’s for lunch because you’re flat out on a task, isn’t a good idea in the long term. And make sure you get enough sleep too – it’s hard to be focused and alert at work if you’ve spent the night tossing and turning.
It’s not rocket science!
Being more productive at work or our home lives is quite simple really. All that’s required is some organisation, the flexibility to deal with the unexpected and the determination to see things through.