What is the one thing that everyone wishes they had more of?
There’s never enough. It goes by too fast. It plays tricks on us. All the clichés apply.
While none of us can add more hours into each day, we can be more efficient with the ones we have.
If you’re struggling with time management, an overwhelming to-do list or just the overwhelm of the daily grind, these 20 productivity tips are for you.
Eliminate hidden time-wasters.
1. “To figure out where your time is heading, attempt to keep a time log for one or two weeks. How much time is actually being lost on unimportant tasks? Where will the majority of your interruptions come from? Will they happen within specific periods of time or on certain days of the week? Once you have this data, it’ll be simpler to eliminate time-wasting tasks, along with interruptions and distractions.” – Murray Newlands for Inc.
2. “Email is great, but email tennis (where messages bounce back and forth, eventually going out of play) is tiresome. If you want to get things done quickly and efficiently, try picking up the phone and speaking to people.” – John Hayes for iContact
3. “Do the most important thing first each day.” –James Clear
6. “A lot of time can be wasted in pursuit of the wrong goal. The longer I have worked as a designer, the more I have learned establishing that you are working on the right thing from the beginning, not just working, boosts productivity. Sure, in the moment, time spent asking yourself, ‘Am I working on the right thing?’ makes you feel anxious, but it’s worth it.” – Jared Ficklin via Fast Company
Banish procrastination & distractions.
9. “The verdict is clear: ‘multitasking’ makes people feel more productive, but research shows that it makes us less productive. So when it’s time to focus,
- Set your phone to Do Not Disturb. On iPhone: swipe up from the very bottom of the phone, and then hit the Moon icon.
- Close all browser windows that aren’t directly related to the task at hand.
- If part of your work is composing emails, get into a state where you can write them without seeing new ones come in. In Gmail, bookmarka search that is filtered to show nothing.
- Turn off email push notifications on your computer.
- Log out of chat.”
10. “If an email or task comes across your desk that you can accomplish in less than five minutes, do it right away. If you spend time scheduling the task for later it will end up taking you longer than five minutes in the long run. This eliminates a lot of wasted time.” – Jonathan Long for HuffPost Small Business
Be honest—with yourself and others.
11. “Courageously express your feelings. When something feels very wrong, totally uninspiring, say so … to yourself and your team. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you give up, it may spin you off into a better solution.” – Danielle LaPorte
Stay hyper-focused on what is actually important.
13. “Own the Pareto principle. This is also known as the 80/20 rule, which basically means that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of effort. Keeping this rule in mind will help you focus on the most important tasks and get better results. You may find that certain tasks look just as good when you only do the most important things instead of using a lot of time to perfect small details. For example, instead of spending a lot of time perfecting an email to your colleagues about a team meeting, you could simply use bullet points for the issues you need to discuss as a team and then move on to other tasks.” – Hallie Crawford for U.S. News & World Report
Make big tasks feel more manageable.
14. “When our ideas are still in our head, we tend to think big, blue sky concepts. The downside is that such thinking makes the barrier to entry – and action – quite high. To avoid “blue sky paralysis,” pare your idea down to a small, immediately executable concept. Can you trial the idea of a multi-day festival with a smaller performance series? Take an idea for a skyscraper and model it in miniature? Work out the flow of an iPhone app by sketching on paper? Once you’ve road-tested your idea on a small scale, you’ll have loads more insight on how to take it to the next level.” – 99u
15. “If you need to make a lot of progress on a project, you may be tempted to work on it nonstop. Don’t. No one can focus on one single task all the time. Ensure that you break up your day—and your thought patterns—by routinely engaging in an activity that’s repetitive and not intellectually taxing, such as vacuuming or gardening. When your mind wanders, creativity can flow, enabling you to synthesize information in a unique way. Then when you sit back down to your work, you’ll have new ideas and be able to get more done.” – Jonathan Schooler as quoted by Jennie Dorris for Real Simple
Make your day work for you.
16. “Depending on how much flexibility you have, you can schedule your workday according to typical fluctuations in your mood and energy levels. It can make all the difference between a super-productive day and a wasted one. For example, if you notice your energy tends to flag in the late afternoon, arrange to answer emails from 4 to 5. And if you know you’re always super-pumped after 10 a.m. team meetings, plan to work on a creative project for the rest of the morning.” – Shana Lebowitz for Business Insider
Take care of yourself.
17. “We really are what we eat. The ‘eat to win’ mentality is fully understanding that what we put into our bodies greatly effects our focus, energy and well-being throughout the course of the day. A junk food diet will lead to a junk performance. When we start our day by consuming foods that increase our energy, focus and well-being, we instantly set ourselves up for a productive day.” – Matt Mayberry for Entrepreneur
18. “I bribe my ‘inner child’ with a reward for staying productive for a 2 hour work stretch. I then give myself 15 minutes “playtime” like having a coffee break or going for a brisk walk outside. I learned this from my kids, if they have something to look forward to like a playdate or going to the pool, they are much more likely to be perfect angels that day! It works for their mom too.” – Alla Feldman as told to Jeff Steinman for LifeHack
When you’ve done all you can, delegate.
20. “Highly productive people are selective about how they expend their energy. They don’t waste it on tasks that others can do. Do a cost/benefit analysis of how you spend your time and see if it’s worth offloading some repetitive tasks so you can focus on what will bring value to your company.” – Bruna Martinuzzi for American Express Open Forum
For more tips that will help you focus and get it done, check out Time Management Tips for the Busy Content Marketer.
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