You just sat at your desk for 3 hours and you realized all you accomplished was starting the email you had to write, checked the weather and beat your best level on Flappy Bird. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes it is hard to get focused and buckle down.
We say that we want to get more done, and then we just don’t have the time or energy, and we don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you move in the right direction.
1. Spend more time working.
Hold the phone! You mean, I need to do more than my regular 40 hours each week? Nope, that is not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying schedule your work. My productivity increases when I started setting specific times for specific tasks, instead of trying to multi-task.
There is an amazing tool called the Pomodoro Timer. It allows you to set the timer for up to 25 minutes, which helps you to stay focused on one task. After 25 minutes, take a quick break and set the timer (or your cell phone timer like me) for 25 minutes again and work on the next project.
2. Delegate and/or eliminate your work.
There are probably things that you need to do and there are things you can delegate or outsource. I read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” and it broke down a couple things that really put it in perspective for me. I had to write out ALL of my tasks that I think needed to be done. Then I had to separate them into the things that were Urgent & Important, the ones that were Urgent & Not Important, the ones that were Important & Not Urgent and then the ones that were Not Important & Not Urgent.
For the Not Important & Not Urgent, I was supposed to just let those tasks go. For the Important & Not Urgent, I could delegate them out. I would suggest creating a process/system around it so when you have someone do it for you, they have the full instructions. For the others, you can schedule times to get them done. Obviously, do the urgent and important tasks as fast as possible and then create a process or system for the next task, which could be something you delegate out down the road.
3. Exercise your brain.
When you do brain exercises, it helps you to be more productive, think faster, and it allows you to be more creative too! Plus it makes you feel good knowing that you are increasing your brain power, right? Right!
4. Use technology to your advantage.
Using technology can be a curse and a godsend all at the same time. Something I have found helpful for me is turning off my internet or using one of the apps that blocks certain websites at certain times to help me get more done. Also, I use my Google Calendar to plan all of my meetings or completion dates, which helps me to stay up on what needs to be done by when so that I’m not dropping balls.
5. Set goals and break them up in to milestones.
This is important for me because I tend to be a bigger picture person. I love looking at it as a whole, but then I get overwhelmed, and I don’t get things done like I should. To solve this problem, I write down the main idea, and then break it up into smaller steps (or milestones) that will help me get to the final goal. When I break it down, I’m not as overwhelmed and I get more done faster.
6. Take time for yourself.
This is kind of like scheduling time for work, but scheduling time for yourself. When I go 2, 3 or 4 hours without taking a break, I don’t get more done. I start to slack off and my mind starts wandering and then my smart phone comes out, and I’m back to playing Flappy Bird and being unproductive. But, if I know that after 1 or 2 hours of work, I have 15–20 minutes of “me” time, it helps remind me that I will be able to check my Facebook or do some “me” stuff for a little bit.
What are some tips or tricks that have worked for you to be more productive and get more done?