We all know a few people who seem to pride themselves on being super-productive. the ones who scurry from task to task, always checking e-mail, organizing something, making a call, running an errand, etc. The people who do this often subscribe to the idea that “staying busy” means you’re working hard and are going to be more successful. While this belief may be true to an extent, it often leads to mindless “productivity”- a constant need to do something and a tendency to waste time on menial tasks.
So let’s run through 10 really valuable tips that’ll get us working smarter, not harder:
1. Complete Your Most Important Tasks First
This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and do those first. Once you’re done, the day has already been a success. You can move on to other things, or you can let them wait until tomorrow. You’ve finished the essentials
2. Learn To Say “No”
Whilst making lots of time commitments can be a great thing, it’s easy to take it too far. At some point, we need to learn to decline opportunities. The objective should be to take on only those commitments that you know you have time
3. Sleep At Least 7-8 Hours
Some people think sacrificing sleep is a good way to hack productivity and wring a couple extra hours out of the day. Definately not! Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. Listen to your body, and don’t underestimate the value of sleep
4. Focus On The Task At Hand
Close out all other browser windows. Put your phone away. Find a quiet place to work, or listen to some music if that helps you. Concentrate on this one task. Nothing else should exist. Immerse yourself in it.
5. Get An Early Start
Nearly all of us are plagued by the impulse to procrastinate. But it’s so much nicer and less stressful to get an earlier start on something. It isn’t that difficult either, if you just decide firmly to do it.
6. Give Yourself A Time Limit To Complete The Task
Instead of just sitting down to work on a project and thinking, “I’m going to be here until this is done,” try thinking, “I’m going to work on this for three hours”.The time constraint will push you to focus and be more efficient, even if you end up having to go back and add a bit more later.
7. Don’t Think Of The Totality Of Your List
One of the fastest ways to overwhelm yourself is to think about your massive to-do list. Realize that no amount of thought will make it any shorter. At this point in time, all you can do is focus on the one task before you. This one, single, solitary task- One step at a time.
8. Exercise And Eat Well
Numerous studies have linked a healthy lifestyle with work productivity. Similar to getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthily boost energy levels, clear your mind, and allow you to focus more easily.
9. Use Your Weekends, But Just A Little Bit
It’s amazing how doing just a little bit on weekends can really lessen the workload during the week. Aim for 2-3 hours per day. You’ll still leave yourself plenty of free time for activities.
10. Create Organizing Systems
Being organized saves tons of time, and they’re not hard to implement. Write lists, create a filing system for documents, and make sure all items have a place to be stored in your home. Unsubscribe from e-mail lists if you don’t want to receive their content. Streamline, streamline, streamline.
The goal is to arrange your commitments in a way that you’re happy living out the details of your daily life, even while you’re working. This may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s more possible than ever in today’s world. Be curious. Be open to opportunity. Know yourself. Embrace your passions. Wonderful things will happen.