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5 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Productivity And Your Health

5 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Productivity And Your Health

Life can get hectic; that is something all of us will admit. With the endless amounts of deadlines needing to be met, dishes piling up in the sink and taking care of your younger brother, sometimes you wonder, “Why are there only 24 hours in a day?”

Truth be told, not many of us spend the time we have wisely. Chances are, too much time is spent on Facebook or any other form of social media. And I’m sure you’ve been distracted while doing work before. This is why I’m sharing tips that will improve productivity and health—because I’m confident everyone could benefit with more productivity. So here are 5 time management tips that might just help you maximize the 24 hours you have in a day!

1. Use lists.

For some, using lists is a great way help increase productivity. However most of the time, people create to-do lists that don’t work at all. While to-do lists might be a valuable tool, I like to complement my to-do list with some other list to make them work better.

Here are some examples:

The 3 Task List

Write down the 3 most important task that you need to complete. I like to split them into 3 different categories, the first would be work related, second would be something health related and third would be any other task you can think of.

An example would look like this:

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1. Write the first draft of an article.

2. Perform a 30 minute run.

3. Buy a present for Sarah.

The goal here is to finish all 3 task before sunset and 2 of the tasks need to be finished by the afternoon. Using this list will ensure that even if your productivity level is bad, you get the three most important things done in one day.

The “Don’t Do” List

This list is simple, all you have to do is write down three bad habits that might be preventing you from completing your task. Stick a reminder on your wall or computer and try not to do any of the 3 items on the list.

Here’s an example:

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1. I won’t check my emails first thing in the morning.

2. I won’t go on Facebook when I’m writing an article.

3. I won’t leave my chair unless performing work for 30 minutes.

The key here is to set a specific time frame to those list. By doing so, it gives you a solid idea of how your time is being  managed. This will vastly improve your productivity.

2. Turn off notifications on your smartphones and tablets.

With the rise of smartphones and tablets, accessing social media has never been easier; however, this convenience can come with a price. Most people find it hard to concentrate because they are so famous, they get Facebook notifications every 10 minutes.

Keeping your notifications turned on can potentially be distracting. So by turning them off, you can ensure nothing will distract you once you are performing work. If you want to take it a step further, you can always uninstall all your social media apps on your phone.

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3. Using specific software and apps.

While social media apps can be potentially distracting, there are apps and software that can help you manage your time better. Sometimes even if you have an iron clad will, it’s hard to resist the temptation of constantly refreshing your news feed. If that’s your problem, this might just be your solution.

1. Cold Turkey & Self Control

This software for your computer let’s you set a specific time period to block popular social media sites that might be distracting. There is also a function which allows you to white list or restrict specific sites.

The beauty is that unless you are a genius hacker, it’s almost impossible to bypass the the lock once it’s activated. In that way, you might be forced to do something productive.

Cold Turkey supports Windows, while Self Controls supports Mac.

2. Self Control (android)

This app prevents you from using any apps on your smartphone for the amount of time you’ve set. Despite the same name, it’s completely different from the one which works on Mac.

3. Focus@Will

Focus@Will plays music that is scientifically proven to help you focus. It definitely helped me stay focused and the tunes are pretty calming. The best part is, there is a free version too!

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4. Include breaks.

Time management doesn’t necessarily have to be all work and no play. As a matter of the fact, including breaks in between work is a great way to maximize your productivity. Working on something for too long, especially when you hit a mental block is not an efficient way to use your time.

Instead of sitting down and pulling your hair, scheduling breaks in between is a good way to hit the reset button. I like to have a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of work I do. During that time, you are free to do anything.

Some good ideas would be to incorporate a few bodyweight exercises such as squats or push ups, watch a short funny clip or even surf Facebook or Twitter. Just do something that will take your mind off work. This will help your mind stay fresh.

5. Get enough sleep.

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    Sleep is a highly overlooked aspect when it comes to productivity and health. People who lack sleep have an increased chance of storing fat and falling sick, and decreased cognitive performance. Doesn’t exactly sound like the way to become a productivity doesn’t it?

    So aim to get roughly 8 hours of sleep per night.

    Incorporating short power naps lasting 20–30 minutes into your day is also another fantastic way to keep fatigue at bay. Optimizing your sleep is definitely one of the easiest way to start helping you lead a healthy and productive lifestyle. Since it’s that simple, start doing it right now!

    Featured photo credit: Productivity via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on January 6, 2021

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

    In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

    For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

    For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

    Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

    Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

    Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

    How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

    1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

    Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

    For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

    2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

    Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

    Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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    Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

    3. Create a System

    Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

    This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

    You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

    Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

    4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

    We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

    If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

    Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

    5. Use a Ratings Scale

    Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

    Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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    It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

    6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

    This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

    You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

    You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

    7. Offer Feedback Forms

    Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

    First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

    Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

    You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    8. Track Cost Effectiveness

    This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

    Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

    Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

    9. Use Self-Evaluations

    Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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    Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

    10. Monitor Time Management

    This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

    Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

      The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

      While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

      11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

      We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

      Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

      For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

      Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

      Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

      From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

      12. Utilize Peer Feedback

      This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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      Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

      Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

      It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

      13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

      When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

      Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

      Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

      14. Use an External Evaluator

      Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

      They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

      While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

      Final Thoughts

      These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

      The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

      The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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      Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

      Reference

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