How can we get some extra time to accomplish planned tasks and reach goals? Well, physically we can’t add an extra minute to a day, but we can “enlarge” our blocks of time needed for the most important things. By minimizing time-wasters and applying a few simple tips to increase your productivity, you will be surprised at how much you can achieve in the amount period of time.
Here are few practical tips I have found useful to help boost productivity.
1. Devote bigger chunks of time to tasks
People often don’t achieve results at the required level of quality, simply because they don’t plan in enough time for accomplishing a specific task. They usually plan many things into the day, thus breaking the day into smaller, more ineffective periods. To creatively solve problems or accomplish an important task, a person often needs a larger block of uninterrupted time, as smaller periods of time are simply not enough. If you devote an hour and a half or two hours for each such activity, it allows your mind to concentrate well and achieve more during that time. It is more effective to plan a quarter of the day in bigger chunks than to plan three quarters of the day divided into 15-30 minute periods.
- Plan meetings only during specific weekdays, and on other days devote your time to planning and working on important things.
- Or use morning for planning and strategic issues, afternoons for meetings.
2. Focus on one thing at a time – don’t multi-task
Our mind is created in a such a way that it can fully concentrate only on one thing at a time. Also, concentration requires a bit of time before you reach the point where you are really focused. Don’t try to manage several projects or deal with several issues at the same time. Finish with one, then move to the next one, and so on.
Multi-tasking also includes checking your email while you are writing a report; or watching TV or checking your phone while planning your next day. Don’t do it, as you lose your focus and it will take 10-15 minutes or more to get it back to the same level you had a moment ago. End result – you lose time.
- If you work in an open space, use a conference room for your planning time. It will help you be able to concentrate.
- Turn off notifications on your phone and sometimes turn the phone completely off. Get yourself lost to others, so you simply cannot be interrupted.
3. Check your emails and social networks only a few times a day
In our hyper-connected society, many people seem to be afraid of missing something important. As a result, many of us are always online. But remember, every notification on your mobile phone, every sound of incoming email, messages, etc. IS A DISTRACTION. Every time you check what is happening on Facebook, you are distracted and might get caught up in another world. What would happen if you checked your emails only twice a day? Or checked Facebook once a day or once a week? Nothing really 🙂 Just think about it – what would really happen? Usually there is no urgent need to reply, so there is no urgent need to check. If something is really urgent, somebody will find you.
Actually, if you check and reply to several emails at once, i.e. in the evening, it will take less time than if you check emails and reply during the day as they come in. The same goes for social networks.
- Set specific times during the day when you check your emails and social networks – i.e. morning and evening.
- Don’t check work email after work hours and during weekends. Guard your time!
Have a productive day! 🙂
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