There never seems to be enough time to get everything done. Actually there is enough time. What we often lose sight of is how much time we waste on the wrong things! There are people that run multiple companies simultaneously and still have time for dinner with the family each night. They can do that because they use their time more wisely than most.
Make the most of your time and increase your productivity:
- Learn how you waste time. Even if you’re the best worker at your company, you still probably waste time. Determine how you waste time at work and at home. Notice what you do when you’re sick of work, tired, bored, or stressed. Using your time effectively is a key component of becoming more productive. Track how much time you spend on valuable work per day whether at the office or at home. Become aware of when you are off task and how much time you are spending.
- Eliminate distractions. While some people can concentrate with chaos all around them, most of us do best with as few distractions as possible. Control what you can in your environment. The fewer distractions you have, the more you can accomplish. Silence your personal cell phone during work hours. Remove email alerts and check email only at predetermined times. Close the door or turn off instant messaging so you are able to concentrate on key projects.
- Prioritize your priorities. If you have a dozen priorities, you don’t have any priorities at all. Develop a list each evening of your three top priorities for the next day. Do everything you can to accomplish those three things. Avoid wasting time each morning trying to determine how you’ll spend your day. You should already know when you wake up.
- Spend time on the most effective actions. There’s a difference between being busy and being effective. Imagine you’re having a dinner party and your house is a mess. You could be busy cleaning out your bedroom closet, but that’s not accomplishing much in this instance. All activities aren’t equal. Spend your time doing the most important things, even if they’re the least enjoyable.
- Take regular breaks. You might be able to work hard from 8am to noon, but you’ll have nothing left in the afternoon. Studies have shown that taking intermittent 10-minute breaks greatly increases productivity over a full day. Give yourself an even longer break every few hours. You’ll stay fresh and find your ability to focus is less-compromised later in the day.
- Develop a morning routine. The most successful people are the most productive. And the most successful people also have a morning routine. Get out of bed early and get your day started productively. Have a good breakfast, exercise, meditate, or do whatever else will get you primed for the day. Apply the same concept to work. Have a work routine that addresses those tasks you do each day. Plan them and get them done.
- Choose the best time for each activity in your life. Do you buy groceries at the most convenient time, or do you go when everyone else is at the store? You could save a lot of time by going after 7pm in the middle of the week or early on the weekend.
Get more done with the time you have available. Evaluate how you’re using your time, both productively and unproductively. Find your weak spots and develop a strategy to improve your behaviors and your approach. The key to productivity is using your time as wisely and efficiently as possible.