Being productive means doing more with less, faster yet still correctly. In this post I’ll discuss how to be more efficient in order to squeeze the most out of your day.
Here are the 3 main segments of your life to focus on:
Managing Your Time
Managing your time is essential for improving your productivity. If you think multitasking is the answer, think again. Even though you claim to be the master of multitasking, you’re not. It’s been proven that you can’t do two things at once. The brain is not like a quad-core processor. It performs tasks one at a time. Sure you can drive while adjusting the radio dial, but while you’re thinking about your selection you’re not thinking about the road.
The appropriate way to manage your time efficiently is to minimize tasks that distract you. Yes, that means shutting off notifications when you’re working. Plan your day in sections. Start it off with email, news and social media to get caught up on what you missed overnight.
Then shut off alerts and concentrate on the most important tasks of your day. Throughout your day it’s okay to take breaks and even a power nap. What’s imperative is that you work efficiently with a laser focus on the task at hand.
Your workstation needs to be free from clutter. A white empty area eliminates all distractions, allowing you to see only what you’re working on.
If you work from home, create a new user account on your computer dedicated to work. On your browser, create an account with your work email so that you are logged into a browser which only has work related bookmarks and plugins. Having a work bookmarks folder is not enough.
Turn off email notifications. Every time there’s an alert you’ll be tempted to stop what you’re doing to check it. More often than not it’s a newsletter or something not important. Yet this stops your flow and messes with your concentration.
Having The Right Mindset
Running a marathon is a daunting task, but while you’re running in one, what matters is just the next mile, just the next step.
Likewise, break your bigger tasks into smaller chunks. Doing this reduces procrastination as we’re more likely to avoid doing large tasks.
Checklists are useful for keeping you on track. Utilize checklists to allow you to see that you are making progress with your bigger tasks.
Use an app to create your checklists and check off each small task after you complete it. Seeing the box checked, the ding noise or the striked-through text triggers the rewards portion of our brain.
The app I use and recommend is Trello. Trello is a task management app that gives you perspective over all your projects. Large projects can be broken down into what are called cards and each card can have smaller tasks within it. It’s useful for everything from planning a party to creating an editorial calendar.
What tools or methods do you use to improve your productivity?