By working smarter you can get more done in less time, freeing you up to do the things you enjoy. Here are 10 ways to do it.
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Becoming more productive doesn't have to mean overhauling your entire working regime. There are plenty of small steps you can take to help become more productive over time. Take a look at my top 10 suggestions:
1. Avoid multitasking
The key to being productive is to focus entirely on the task at hand. You may think you’re getting more done by focussing on multiple tasks all at once, but are you? What you’re actually doing is toggling between the different tasks.
Each time you move from one task to the next, it takes a little while for your mind to focus on what you’re doing. It can therefore be quicker, in the long run, to just focus on one task at a time.
2. Switch off notifications
With social media, email and any number of other notifications pinging every few minutes, it’s easy to become distracted from your work. It can be hard to ignore them though and so try switching them off completely. Then plan in dedicated time slots where you can check your emails and social media accounts.
3. Get up early
Do you find yourself snoozing your alarm each morning? Be an early riser and use this time to get on top of your emails, before more start flowing in, or use the quiet time to organise your day ahead. You will also have a clearer mind in the morning, so it’s the perfect time to work on that project you’ve been putting off.
The early bird...gets a head start on it's competitors
4. Work less
Yes, you read that right. There is growing evidence to support that you can increase productivity by working less. A new book by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang shows how taking adequate time to rest and recuperate can actually allow you to be more productive in your life.
5. Unsubscribe or filter your emails
It’s hard to remain productive if half your time is taken up by trawling through junk emails. Put aside an hour now to evaluate the emails coming into your inbox. If you’re habitually deleting newsletters without reading them, unsubscribe from them.
If there are others, such as Google Alerts that you need for research purposes, set up a filter so they go straight into a separate folder. This will allow you to spend less time in your inbox, and make it easier to focus on the emails you actually need to read.
6. Experiment with different productivity apps and tools
There are lots of different apps and tools available to help you become more productive, such as ToDoist. However, it’s important to remember that just because an app works for someone else, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Therefore, make sure you try out different productivity apps and tools until you find one that fits for you.
7. Close extra tabs and windows
It’s easy to end up with numerous windows and tabs open as you flick between social media, email, documents and programmes. These can be very distracting and tempting when you’re trying to focus on another task. So, close down everything you don’t need for your particular task and you’ll find you get it done much more efficiently.
8. Eat that frog!
The popular book by Brian Tracy makes one simple point: to start your day by doing the big, horrible job first. All too often you may find yourselves with a job you really don’t relish doing and you put it off and procrastinate or half-start and stop in favour of doing something easier or more interesting.
You can waste a huge amount of time by doing this, so it’s much more productive to do these jobs first, to get them out of the way.
9. Employ the two-minute rule
When you’re compiling your to-do list, if there is anything that will take you less than two minutes to do, just do it there and then. This will help you to knock small things off your list rather than have them carry over, day after day.
This can help to boost your productivity by helping you feel like you’ve already achieved something, and making your to-do list feel smaller and easier to manage.
Do quick tasks first to prevent yourself being overwhelmed
10. Learn the art of saying no
So often productivity is hindered by the hundred tiny, insignificant tasks you need to get done each day. You agree to take things on in order to help out a friend or colleague without really thinking about how they might impact on your own productivity.
Saying no doesn’t have to be rude. There are plenty of ways to politely decline without ruffling feathers. Learn to evaluate an “opportunity” before agreeing to it, and don’t be afraid to say no if you need to.
Productivity is a hot topic and something we all want to improve on. And with the help of these 10 tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting more out of your day.
Do you have any methods that you use to help boost your own productivity? Tweet us @Minutehack.