Productivity is a measurement of how efficient you are at completing any task. Productivity doesn’t mean getting more things done in a single day; it’s consistently getting important tasks completed on time. No matter what project you’re working on, being productive involves a steady, average speed instead of a maximum speed on every task you do. Here’s how you can manage your time better and be more productive.
Manage Your Energy Instead of Time
Instead of filling up your calendar with deadlines and due dates and trying to estimate how long each task will take you, instead try to manage your energy. Be mindful of your day and take note of when you’re better at doing certain tasks than others. For example, if you’re moving, try to pack in the morning before work if that’s when you feel the most motivated.
Consider the different types of energy you have throughout the day. If you know you won’t clean your house on a Saturday morning, try to find a time when you’re most energized to do it. If you aren’t good with managing your taxes, considering getting a professional tax software to do the job for you. You can easily determine what tasks require the types of energy you have so you can build your schedule around it.
You can apply your energy management to work as well. While you can’t put things off at your job, you can figure out when you’re better at certain tasks and plan around that. For example, if you know you’re better at writing a report when you first get into work, aim to do that every morning. If you prefer to have a more relaxing afternoon, try to accomplish tasks that don’t require too much brainpower or physical energy.
Prepare the Night Before
Spend a few minutes each night organizing your list of tasks for the next day. When you start planning before you go to bed, you can save yourself a few extra minutes in the morning. By creating a list either at the end of the workday or before you shut your eyes, you can set yourself up for success the day before.
Not to mention creating a list can help you feel more productive and less stressed about all the work you have to do. By creating a plan, you can determine which tasks should be done in what order.
Don’t Start Your Day with Emails
Most people go to work, and the first task they accomplish is reading and replying to emails. While you should respond to coworkers, clients, and customers as soon as possible, try to wait until late in the morning or early afternoon to check your emails.
Everyone and everything can wait a few hours so you can get more important work done. Nobody emails about true emergencies. If they have an emergency, they will pick up the phone to call you, so leave your email alone so you can focus on more urgent tasks.
Leave Your Phone in Another Room
Set a time where you won’t use your phone at all, including when you won’t pick up the phone for clients and coworkers. Leaving your phone in another room leaves you free from distractions that prevent you from being your most productive self. However, not everyone can leave their phone in another room or off all day, especially if your job requires you to have some amount of time set aside for talking to clients and customers.
If you need your phone for work, try to set a time where you can leave it off, at least for a few hours. For example, you can turn your phone off at 11 am and leave it off until 2 pm every day so you have at least three solid hours to focus on tasks that require all of your attention.
Sit Up Straight
Hunching puts your chest in a collapsed position, pushing your diaphragm into your lunch. This stops you from being able to breathe as well or as deep. Instead, sit up straight or even try standing so you can breathe easier. When you breathe better, your brain gets more oxygen so you can concentrate better and accomplish tasks quicker.
Start Your Day Right
Your morning routine can predict your day. Some people start their day with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, while others enjoy a quick workout before they get ready for work. By having a routine in place, you can tell your brain it’s time to start getting ready for work so you can get into the mindset you need to accomplish more tasks.
You only have an eight-hour workday, and the rest of the time, you need to focus on the tasks you have at home. By learning to say no to coworkers, friends, and even your boss, you can accomplish more tasks. Consider this. You’re at work and have your full workday planned when your boss asks you if you can fit a quick project into your schedule by the end of the day. If that project is a priority, then you might have to drop what you’re doing and put tasks off.
However, if that task is not a huge priority for you, you should discuss it with your boss so you can accomplish all the tasks that need to be finished first. Saying “no” doesn’t make you no longer a great employee. Always be respectful when saying no to your boss, but let them know about the higher-priority tasks you still have to finish before you can move on to a less important one.
Time Management and Productivity
While you should always try to manage your time, things come up that can destroy your plans for the day. Managing your time doesn’t have to include making a detailed schedule that outlines your entire day. Instead, try to predict how long important tasks will take you so you can plan out when to complete them, depending on the time of day you’re most productive.
Similarly, instead of trying to push yourself to accomplish more during the day, try to accomplish your tasks more productively. If you have a full schedule already, there’s no use adding more to it in the name of productivity.
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music.
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