There’s nothing like the feeling of being productive, that feeling of being on top of things and one step ahead of yourself. Not only do you get things done but you have a buzz about you that makes you feel you can achieve anything, and more often than not because you have done everything in a timely manner, you may have even created some time for yourself too.
But unfortunately, not every day is like this and some days you may feel like you are swimming through glue, never quite getting what needs to be done finished.
So when you have things to do or want to do more in less time, here are my tips on how to be more productive.
Focus on the task at hand
You may have a long list of things to do, but what you need to do is focus on one thing at a time and complete it before moving on to or worrying about everything else.
- How long do I have to complete the task?
- What is involved in completing the task?
- Is this manageable in the time I do have?
If not, what needs to be done first, what part can you complete in the time you do have?
Not everything will be able to be completed all at once, sometimes it’s good to break things down into manageable and achievable chunks and to complete them in bite sized pieces one at a time.
Spend 5 minutes making sure you have everything you need
A couple of moments preparation spent at the beginning can save you so much time down the line.
Do you have everything you need to hand?
Be disciplined and take control of yourself. Turn off email and put your phone on silent. If you are working at the computer, shut down the browsers you aren’t using – you don’t need Facebook and YouTube to be distracting you while you are trying to concentrate on what you are doing.
Plan your time
It’s hard to be consistently productive all day, to work at full speed for long hours. We are most productive when we break big projects down into smaller chunks and plan regular breaks.
Try working in 90 minute blocks with a 10 to 15 minute break in between. Remember to keep the end in mind and know what it is you are aiming to achieve at the end of each block, so you know when you’ve reached your goal.
Understand your body’s natural rhythm
Are you more of a morning or afternoon person?
Know what your body’s natural rhythm is and work with it not against it. Tackle the more complex tasks when you feel most energised and mentally alert, and complete the more routine jobs, the ones that don’t take up quite so much mental energy when your energy levels dip. Work with your body to be most productive.
If you would like to take control of your life and career, my online personal development programme MyLifeStrategy can help you to overcome the personal and professional challenges you face on a daily basis and learn practical skills and techniques to make a real difference to you and your life.
I’ve developed the Time Management for the Time Poor module to help you to get the most out of your time. It will show you how to manage yourself and your behaviours, how to optimise your time, how to prioritise, delegate, stop procrastinating and put yourself back in control of your life and your time.