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7 Productivity Hacks To Accomplish All Your Tasks Every Day

7 Productivity Hacks To Accomplish All Your Tasks Every Day

How would you like to execute all your tasks for each day, and do that every day? Sounds great, right? Sure, with the right steps taken, you can get that done easily. Accomplishing all your tasks for the day will help you have a great day, bring you closer to the ultimate achievement you’re set for, and give you satisfaction. It’ll also contribute hugely to your overall success. After all, that’s what success is all about — accomplishing all your set goals and meeting your targets.

If you fancy the feeling of being successful and would like to go through each day achieving your goals, here’s how to pull that off in 7 simple steps:

1. Write Out a Basic Plan for the Day

Write out a basic plan, showing all the important things you want to do for the day. You can do this using a computer, a mobile device, or going traditional with a real pen and paper. It involves evaluating and prioritizing the day’s activities in the order of their rewards and benefits to you. You’d have to do this before you start your day.

It’s about getting organized; it’s about getting to know what to do and how to do it; it’s about getting things in place on paper and in your mind, so you wouldn’t lose your bearings or become disoriented in the middle of the day, thinking what to do next.

Make the tasks in the list as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) as possible.

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You don’t have to include 30 tasks that require at least 2 hours each to accomplish; there are just 24 hours in a day. My personal strategy here is to try to make my list have 3-5 MITs (Most Important Tasks) plus a couple other non-MITs. If you end up accomplishing just the MITs, you still had a great day. The non-MITs can be outsourced or delegated if you’re time-challenged.

Obviously, planning your day ahead involves some thinking and visualization, where you forecast your day before you even live in it. You can even go a step further by doing this the night before. I usually do this while carrying out step 7 below.

2. Set Time for each Task

After writing out a basic plan for your day, allot time to each activity. Possibly, indicate when to start the activity and when to end it. Visualize how much you hope to accomplish the task within the stipulated time frame, and of course, keep it SMART. Doing this will put you in control of your time and day. It will also help you measure your progress, manage your time effectively and get more done.

3. Follow Through Meticulously

It’s not just enough to write out a plan and allot time to the activities; you actually have to follow through strictly if you want to achieve results. This entails getting up to do what you ought to do when it’s time to do it.

The truth is, if you shift things, it could change everything. Let’s say you had fixed to write an article from 10 a.m to 11:30 a.m. And so when it was time, you opened you computer, logged in, and just as you were about to open your word processor, something happened: A notification box popped up out of nowhere, showing that you have a new email in your inbox. So you head over to Gmail to check it.

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Then to FB to quickly see how many new Facebook likes your page just got; then to Twitter; then your favorite blog. And before you know it, it’s already 30 minutes into your article writing time. But just because it’s so necessary to write the article, the time has to be shifted from the initial 11:30 to 12:00, eating into the time for another activity. And the cycle continues.

If you ever get into that kind of cicle, the next point can come in handy.

4. Give Total Attention to the Task at Hand

It’s easy to get distracted in the midst of the activities and happenings around you during the day, but you have to make up your mind not to be distracted. Staying focused is important for the accomplishment of your tasks. If you really want to get something done, give total attention to it; concentrate all your strength on it, psychologically, physically and otherwise.

Clearly, this is against multi-tasking. You really cannot get much done by trying to do everything at the same time. Single tasking is the way to go. If you find yourself struggling with staying focused and giving total attention to the task at hand, here are some things to do:

  • Create a Distraction-Free Environment (DFE) for yourself, whether physically or virtually.
  • Get rid of everything that can sidetrack you.
  • Stay mentally alert and be watchful of yourself.
  • If you have to take breaks to avoid burnouts, do so.
  • Monitor your progress and redirect your focus if it seems you’re diverting.

5. Give Precedence to those Activities that Produce Quality Results

To have the best results, you’d have to concentrate on the most important activities and give them your best shot. By important activities, I mean those activities that will help you most in achieving or getting close to your ultimate goal. You will have to do this because during the day, several unimportant activities may pop up, looking to steal away your time.

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And the unfortunate thing? You may not realize that your time is being “stolen” until it’s 5:00 PM when you suddenly realize that you haven’t done much for the day.

Here are some steps you can apply to overcome this:

  • Make sure your activities are focused on the achievement of your greater goal.
  • Cut off any and every trivial and unnecessary activity.
  • Write out at least 3 MITs you’d like to accomplish for the day.

You’d also have to beware of “time-stealers.” Time-stealers could be unimportant and unnecessary activities, social networks, or even friends who always come around to yak and chew the fat. Avoid them like the plague.

6. Be Sensitive to the Schedule. Respect the Time

Not only should you be sensitive to the scheduling and timing of your day, you should also treat other people’s time with respect. For instance, if you told someone to come see you by 3:00 PM, when the person gets there by the said time, don’t keep the person waiting until 4:00PM. If you were unavoidably in the middle of another meeting, see about calling the person up before 3:00 PM to re-schedule the appointment.

Don’t keep people waiting gratuitously. They might have gotten at least one useful thing done while waiting and doing nothing. On the other hand, if you find yourself waiting, make productive use of the little blocks of time you have. Maybe while waiting for a meeting to start, queuing up at the ticket station, waiting to catch a flight, or even while sitting in a bus, get something done.

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It could be a simple, streamlined task like replying/sending an email, making a short important call, signing up for a service or a helpful task like reading. Whatever it is, create a list of 5-10 minutes tasks, ready to be executed at any given “block of time.”

Remember what the sixth part of Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues says:

“Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”

7. Go Back to Your List of Basic Plans and Evaluate

This comes at the end of the day. Write out a list of the things you’ve done since you woke up. This will help you measure your progress and set new goals. It’ll also help you redirect your focus on the tasks that need to get done. If after evaluating your list you’re not satisfied with the results you’ve gotten, don’t complain but just do it better the next day.

Conclusion

Accomplishing all your tasks for each day is doable and it comes with a great feeling. It’s also important because meeting your daily goals contributes immensely to your overall success and to the achievement of your ultimate goal. When you want to have a great day, apply the productivity hacks above and you’ll be set to getting that done, stress-free.

Featured photo credit: john.schultz 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

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