There are only so many hours in the day, making the most of your time is critical. Two ways you can get more done in less time; work longer and harder, or work smarter. Being more productive does require you to be more deliberate when it comes to managing your time.
Getting more done in less time is a critical component of your success. Whether you’re an employee, a business leader, manager, or mother, you should be continually seeking ways to increase your productivity. If you can’t at least perform as efficiently and effectively as others, your future could be at stake. Here are five simple things you can do to increase your productivity, and get more done in less time.
Limit Your To-Do List
One of the most counterintuitive, but highly effective methods for increasing your productivity is not putting a lot on it. One way that you can accomplish this is by choosing one to three of your most important tasks. These are the tasks are going to be tough to achieve, but ones that must be completed during the day. These may keep you working at the office long past quitting time, if you aren’t able to get through them.
Start working on the most important tasks first thing in the morning. If you put them off, you will inevitably get busy and run out of time to complete them. To increase your productivity, get these tasks out of the way first.
You can fill the rest of your to-do list with minor tasks that you’d like to get done. Then work through your list from highest to lowest priority.
Something else that you can try to increase your productivity is to write out your schedule the night before. Writing out your to-do list before you go to sleep will help you be more prepared to start your day. Rather than wasting your time in the morning, you can jump right into working on your most important tasks.
Measure Your Results, Not Your Time
Many of us are putting in more and more hours, only to find that we don’t get more accomplished. Working smarter involves finding methods of being productive in less time.
One way we can tackle this problem is to adjust the way we measure productivity. While this may sound like a trick to you, it’s not a way out of getting your work done. However, if you measure what you get done, rather than how long, you’ll notice a major shift in your work.
If you have substantial projects or tasks to complete, start by breaking them down into more manageable tasks. Then schedule them and add them in your to-do list. Breaking them up can make a daunting project seem simpler.
Create “Getting Ready to Work” Routines
Your chances of procrastination increase when there’s uncertainty in the work you need to accomplish. For some, just the idea of getting started on tasks is a common hurdle.
One way is creating a routine that tells your body and brain that it’s time to begin to work. You can create a simple routine, like grabbing a coffee on your way to work, or sitting down at your desk or workspace.
You could even have a playlist or album that gets you in the mood to work and listen to it as a part of your daily routine. While you might be tempted to let go of your weekday routine when the weekend hits, maintaining a weekend routine that isn’t different from your weekday routine can be extremely beneficial in increasing productivity at work.
The more you let go of your habits on the weekends, the harder it will be for you to pick it up again during the week.
Track What You’re Wasting Time On
When you struggle with productivity, it can be incredibly tempting to start changing your routine or working on a new solution before you even uncover the real problem. The first step in becoming more productive is figuring out where your usual time-wasters are.
To start, just track what you do every morning when you are getting ready for work. You might find that you are spending too much time deciding what to wear for the day, which is something that you can do the night before. Then you want to track how you spend your time throughout the day and look for patterns. When you follow how you spend your time, it might lead you to discover that you are getting caught up on Facebook too often.
Once you’ve determined what’s taking up your time or causing you to procrastinate, you can begin to make changes to those specific habits. If you like to check your favorite sites for news in the mornings, factor this into your routine by doing it as you drink your coffee.
Build Habits to Help You Stop Working
Many people struggle most in stopping work, rather than getting started. Often, it is just too easy to continue to work for another hour, or jumping back on your computer after dinner, which can lead you to keep working until well after it’s time to go to bed. The worst thing about this habit is that it encourages you to put off your most important tasks in the morning because you know you’ll end up working long enough to accomplish them.
There are several ways that you can help yourself switch off at home and leave work behind. If you can start implementing these strategies, you’ll find that you’re pushed to do your most important tasks first thing in the morning, rather than putting them off. This may also help you become more productive overall. When it comes to increasing productivity, Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day, you will never be stuck.” While this is standard advice for writers, it can be applied to all kinds of work.
Set a firm cut-off time for your work. If you fear you don’t have the will power to do so, then create a physical cut-off time; like taking your laptop to work without a charger. These will limit the amount of time that you have to work, increasing your motivation to remain efficient.
You can also create a wind-down routine every day. This is extremely helpful for those who tend to struggle to switch off at the end of the day. Your routine can be as simple as taking a short walk before bed or planning the next day.
The Bottom Line
Becoming productive takes time, effort, and an understanding of habits that are holding you back. If you want to increase your productivity, then these five simple tips can help get you on your way. These tips can help to get your body and mind in sync for better focus when you need it. Make sure to try as many strategies as you can until you find what works best for you. That way you can create the perfect system for increasing your productivity. Every minute matters, so make sure that you make each one count.
To make it easier to find the best strategy for you, we have a free webinar that can expands on these three ways to structure your day to get more done. It’s called How To Be Productive and it’ll teach you how to become more productive in business and life. This free webinar presentation, will show you exactly how to turn these 5 ways for getting more done in less time into successful habits. Register now to attend. Everyone who attends this presentation will receive a $100 gift card, and a downloadable checklist for staying productive. Reserve your seat by clicking on the button below.