I started my New Year with the resolution that in 2018, I am going to be more productive – accomplish the goals that I have been dilly-dallying from 2017. Now that I have jotted down my goals, I have realized even though I doubled my work hours, my output still hasn’t increased. In fact, it has reduced to half. I haven’t been successful at managing my tasks at work and my part-time freelancing is just taking away my sanity. I want to get rid of those late night slumps over the keyboard and the sluggish mornings where there isn’t just enough coffee to get me moving.
I have heard most of my friends talk about the work-life balance and its importance but honestly, none of them are doing it right. Who doesn’t want to get ahead at work and come home early! I know, I do and I am sure you do too.
So, I read a few books on productivity and did some research on Google. By doing that I successfully landed on some productivity hacks that actually made a difference. Here is what I learned:
1. Start the Week at the Weekend
If you’re used to planning what you are going to do throughout the day in the morning then that is the exact moment you need to realize that you need to change your routine right there. Planning can eat a lot of precious time.
Shift your routine planning from weekdays to the weekend. Let’s say on Sunday, plan out how you are going to spend your week and prioritize your tasks. Trust me; it is going to eliminate the late night slumps for sure. So, here is what you need to do:
- List down all the important projects you are working on.
- Clearly define what must be achieved by the end of the week for each project.
- Follow your priorities and allocate work or tasks for each day of the week.
It is tried and tested. The return on investment was great.
2. Reduced the Work Week Hours
If you are working up to 80 hours a week, you are not doing any good to yourself. In fact, working overtime makes you a tad impotent at your job. Nothing gets done and even if it does, it costs you your health. If you really want to be productive, you must definitely STOP doing these:
- Don’t say yes to everything.
- Stop doing everything yourself. Ask others around to help too.
- You can’t always be perfect. Only getting a job done is sometimes better than making it perfect.
3. Follow the Ivy Lee Method
We all need to adopt the Ivy Lee Method. It’s a life saver, really! Ivy Lee, a productivity consultant, designed this method for achieving productivity at its maximum. Here I’ll tell you a little about the synopsis of this method:
- By the end of each day, make a list of six most important tasks you need to get done the next day.
- Make sure you put the most important one on top.
- Complete the first task. Done shift to the second one until you are done with the first.
- Once the day is over, move the unfinished task(s) to the next day’s list of 6 most important tasks.
- If you carry a task for too many days it simply means it is not important enough. If that’s so then just simply get rid of it.
This method really helped me prioritize things at work and at home.
4. Take Regular Breaks
Your mind and body deserve a break. A research says that short mental breaks keep you focused. If you are working on a long task, taking breaks help maintain a constant level of performance. On the other hand, if you keep on working on a task that is taking too long and also without taking any break, your performance starts declining.
5. Don’t Let Your Phone Interrupt You
Half of the things we need to get done linger until the next day because probably we spend too much time on our phones.
I just can’t keep track of time when I am checking my social media news feed. One thing takes you to another and then another and then you can’t remember how you landed on the video you are just watching. In my case, it’s always been a cute video of cats and dogs. Although the amount of pleasure it gives seeing those cute beamy eyes but friends this routine seriously needs to be stopped.
If you wanna be productive, it is time to set some rules.
#1. Get rid of that phone and put all attention to work.
#2. Turn OFF all the notifications and put your phone on silent.
#3. There should always be an endpoint for each random surfing session otherwise it can keep you going all day.
#4. Quit checking your phone when you are in line.
#5. Schedule all your social media posting to the time when you get home after work.
There should be a specific time in the day when you check social media. Give yourself a break and stay away from the screen for a while. Reduce that screen time and move towards a healthy lifestyle.
6. Converse, Don’t Email
Waiting for your colleague to reply you via email can take forever. Save yourself time, pick up the phone or simply walk to their desk and talk directly. If you have to talk to colleagues who work from a remote location, use chat to get a prompt response. Talking on email threads is not just a waste of time but it sometimes generates pointless mistakes.
7. Exercise or Go For A Walk
Working out in the morning always keeps you active. You need to get the blood pumping to clear your head and get back the lost focus. If you can’t join the gym then even a morning jog or a walk can make a really big difference.
8. Give Yourself Deadlines
You will get a lot of work done if you give yourself a deadline. Think about a reasonable time you ideally need for finishing a task. You will be surprised to discover how productive you become when you are watching the clock. You can also follow the 2-minute rule. If there are some tasks that can be done in 2 minutes or less, do them immediately. If you too have a bad habit of getting things done at the last moment then setting deadlines will help you break it.
It can be overwhelming to follow all these tips altogether hence, my recommendation is to take one step at a time and you will start noticing the difference in your productivity very soon. Good Luck!