Have you ever reached the end of a day and felt that you had achieved nothing? Do you ever wonder why the days can go past so fast and yet you still have so much to do? If that sounds familiar, you may need a little help with your productivity. Here are ten tips that will help make every day more productive.
1. Start the Day with Breakfast and Some Exercise
Productivity isn't only about working smart; it's also about living well. If you don't eat well and take care of yourself, your work will suffer. Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Take some exercise, even if it's only a brisk walk. Food will give you energy and exercise will make you feel more alert. Then, you'll be ready to face all the challenges that the coming day has in store for you.
2. Set Your Goals and Your Tasks for the Day
You will read many productivity tips that tell you must have a to-do list. A simple to-do list, though, can be far too long to be motivating. It is much better to set your high-level goals first. Then think about the tasks that you need to complete to achieve those goals. The goals are your headings; they are what will motivate you. The tasks are the bullet points. The tasks are the items that will need to be ticked off as you go through your day.
3. Group Similar Tasks Together
Your working day will flow better if you group similar tasks. Every time you switch between different types of tasks, it breaks your concentration. You may also need to use different types of tools, or different apps on your computer. Batching similar types of tasks together is a much more efficient way of working.
4. Prioritize and Be Prepared to Adapt
You need to prioritize to be productive, but you also need to be willing to adapt. Sometimes, it will be impossible to complete your highest priority task. It may be through no fault of your own. If that is the case, don't sit around worrying about it. Adapt your schedule and jump straight onto the next most important task on your list.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Delegate
Never be afraid to delegate. It's a skill that all productive people have. Pass on work to other people, when you know that they can do it for you. Ask for help when you need it. Your own time is a limited resource, so use it wisely and use it efficiently.
6. Don't Multi-task
Focus on one job at a time. Don't try to multi-task, because it doesn't work. You work much more efficiently when you concentrate on one task at a time. People who multi-task always look busy, but they are not being as productive as they could be.
7. Work When You Are at Your Best
Some people work better in the mornings; some catch a second wind at the end of the day. Work out when you do your best work and then schedule the toughest tasks for that time of day. Trying to complete difficult or complex tasks when you are tired, or your heart is not in it will not work. So, reserve those tasks for the time of day when you know will be at your best.
8. Learn When to Say No
Be firm with people who ask you to take on more work when you already have enough to do. Be polite while making it clear that you do not have the time available to take on more. It's much better to complete the tasks you already have well than it is to try to please everyone. If you take on too many tasks, you may not complete any of them as well as you might have done.
9. Don't Burn the Candle at Both Ends
You will always achieve more when you are wide awake and alert. Working through the night, for example, will only leave you wrecked the next day. Take breaks during the day and finish work at a reasonable time. Burning the candle at both ends will only lead to stress and burn-out. It won't do anything at all to help you to be more productive.
10. Keep Your Workspace Tidy
Whatever type of work you do, a tidy workspace will increase your productivity. It might seem like you are saving time by not filing paperwork or putting your tools back where they belong. The truth is, though, the few minutes it will take you to clean up your workspace could save you a lot of time later in the day.
Being productive is about focus and organization. It's also about avoiding distractions. A to-do list will help you be more productive. Even so, you must have the self-discipline to ensure that you complete the most important tasks. In the end, how productive you are is in your own hands.