I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a bad day and I don’t get anything done productively. It is called procrastination. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often.
However, I believe it is important to have some strategies in place to be efficient and getting things done in a timely manner. We know that we never have enough time within a day, so the question is how do we make a better use of our time?
Over the last years, I have developed personal and professional productivity strategies that help me complete my tasks on time while living a balanced lifestyle.
I would like to share these with you. Shall we look at them?
We have established that we will never have enough time within a day to accomplish everything, so don’t bother trying. Prioritizing your most vital tasks or projects for the day will narrow down your to-do list and increase the number of completed tasks. Make a to-do list for the day and focus on this list solely. You can worry about your tomorrow’s to-do list tomorrow. To-do lists are my number one productivity tool and I have used them for as long as I remember. Find out what the best free to-do list apps are according to Forbes!
If your work routine is to begin the day by reading and responding to e-mails, only respond to the most important ones and leave the others for later when you have time for less important tasks.
Structure your day
Each day often has small differences or can be totally different, so it is a good idea to plan out your next day depending on what you have scheduled. If you have a meeting or a fitness class to work around, structure your most vital projects or tasks around your calendar. For example, every morning I am up by 6:30 a.m., review my social media accounts, read the news, have breakfast, respond to important e-mails then I start working on my tasks for the day. I found it helps to plan out my day when I know what I need to accomplish and what scheduled events I have to work around.
Set a realistic schedule
If you have booked a whole day with back to back meetings, events, fitness classes, etc. Chances are that you will not accomplish anything on your list or even have time to eat! It is good to spread out scheduled events throughout the week, so you have time to work on your projects and for yourself as well as for anything unexpected that might happen. It is better to accomplish one task than none at all.
Write, write and write
There is only so much your brain can remember. When there are ideas popping up, write them down. When you have a clear vision for a project or an action plan with items drawing themselves up in your mind, write it down. Writing down your ideas is a great way to boost productivity, because it will be there at a later time when you need to develop one of those ideas! In addition, it frees up your brain and make more space for other things. Often, I get my ideas when I sleep and if I remember them when I wake up, I write them down right away.
Track your time
Do you know how we always say “wow, it flew by!”. Well, it is the same thing during a work day. Sometimes, I start my day at 7:30 a.m. and the next time I look at the clock, it is already noon. I started to divide my time between projects so they get the same attention, especially if they have the same deadline. Minimizing distractions as much as possible greatly help in dealing with the time. It is easy to spend two hours creating and scheduling social media posts, reading the news and so on. It is important to limit your time between tasks and turn off any distractions, such as cell phone, notifications, e-mails, television, etc. Turn everything off if you need to. It is always best to focus on one thing at a time.
The human is not a robot. Breaks are necessary to your mental and physical health. Take the time to eat, get some fresh air, get coffee or tea, etc. I found out that working during blocks of 90 minutes followed by a 10 minutes break work well for me. I often use my lunch time to get a workout in or doing some errands. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking lots of water as it helps you to focus.
Flexibility in your personal and professional lives goes a long way in terms of productivity. It is good to leave room for the unexpected and be able to change your schedule. You might wake up one morning and feeling unwell, so it is important to listen to your body. Everything works out at the end if you are flexible while being a good planner at the same time. Putting stress on yourself or feeling guilty because you have not accomplished something is NOT productive.
Get up earlier
Some of you might not like this tip, especially if you are a night person. I always have been a morning person, but I decided to get up earlier during the week. I like to have time in the morning and not feeling rushed. I have time to enjoy a good coffee and healthy breakfast while doing some social media work and respond to e-mails. This is two tasks completed before I start my actual work day. It works great for me. You have to figure out what works for you.
Save reads for later
Research is important in any field of work. There is a huge amount of useful information on the Internet and we cannot read everything right away. If there is a read that captures your attention and you would like to keep it for later, there are good free apps you can use. Personally, I use Pocket to store up on reads.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot operate or work in my office if it is not organized and clean. A clean space helps to focus and feels comfortable. Give it a try. It is almost magical how it works wonders when you have an organized and clutter-free space. In addition, if you need to find something, you will not waste time looking for it either.
I hope these 10 strategies to boost your productivity will truly help you! What are your strategies? I would love to hear about them!